The use of cell phones in hospitals seems to be a controversy that just won't go away. Some hospitals ban all cellular phones and have signs to that effect prominently displayed. Other hospitals ban phones, but for some reason don't bother to post any notices to that effect. Some hospitals allow mobile phones everywhere but in critical areas and surgery, and some allow cell phones everywhere (the physicians certainly like this approach).

Well it seems that ongoing controversy has compelled the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK to issue a statement.

[The MHRA's] experts said they should be restricted only where specialist equipment was used, as in intensive care and specialist baby units.

They said there was a small risk of interference. Bans are currently decided on individually by hospitals.

However, many NHS trusts have introduced outright bans and the British Medical Association has called on doctors to be allowed to use phones, but not the public.

The MHRA reports receiving only 10 reports in the past decade of cell phones interfering with infusion pumps. What, no ventilator problems? It's nice to know that mobile phone interference (and resulting outright bans) is a controversy that reaches near-religious proportions some place besides the U.S.

There are many sources of interference that effect medical devices, and these problems crop up quite frequently. To ban cell phones is perhaps not the best solution to what is really a risk management problem.