Ministry: No need for ban on mobile devices in hospitals

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PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry today dismissed calls to reintroduce a ban on mobile phones and smart devices in critical zones in hospitals, Malay Mail Online reported.

The ministry’s deputy director-general Dr S Jeyaindran said such regulations had been done away with for sometime now as there was no evidence to prove such devices intefered with medical equipment, especially those related to life-support systems.

“Studies have been carried out worldwide, and most of them have shown no problem related to the use of handphones in Intensive Care Units, Cardiac Care Units or even in operating theatres.

“The general consensus in Malaysia is that we can use our handphones, but don’t bring them close to patients,” he was quoted as saying by the news portal.

Jeyaindran added that even doctors need to use their handphones regularly, as it is an indispensable mode of communication.

“We will only look at introducing any ruling if it is absolutely necessary.”

“If there is a study that shows handphones cause interference in medical equipment then the MOH will enforce a rule,” he said, according to MMO.

The issue of mobile phones and smart devices came to the fore after Tuesday’s fire at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru, which claimed the lives of six patients who were warded at the ICU.

Early speculation on social media said that a smartphone being charged near some equipment was linked to how the fire had started. This has since been proven to be untrue.

Johor Baru (South) Police Chief ACP Sulaiman Salleh told the media that authorities were still investigating the cause of the incident, adding that initial investigations showed it could have been due to a short circuit.