It is common place to be met with the requirment to switch off mobile phones as these may interfere with electronic equipment. Most commonly, the requirment is met with in medical facilities, such as Atkinson Morley, St. Georges Hospital, London, for instance. Atkinson Morley is the neurological wing of St. George's. The St. George's policy statement is shown here -
The mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia, also supplies the following advice in the notes and warnings section accompanying one of their mobile phones:
“SWITCH OFF IN HOSPITALS. Follow any regulations or rules. Switch the phone off near medical equipment.”
In Atkinson Morley Wing, however, the requirement does not apply to clinicians, who are not subject to the same rules which must apply to we ordinary mortals! The following is an extract from a letter explaining this -
Incredibly, the incident described in the letter occurred in the ITU at Atkinson Morley. Furthermore, the call was not from a fellow member of the medical staff, but of a personal nature.
Rights of Next of Kin
Next of kin do have rights in influencing the direction of treatment, don't they?
According to clinicians at Atkinson Morley Wing, given the mental incapacity of the patient, they retain full and total control of this and are under no compulsion whatsoever to accept input from family members.
Dr. gggg confirmed that, from a legal point of view, only the patient can give or withhold consent.
Dr gg expressed the view that, with or without our permission, a procedure would go ahead. It was preferred that relatives should be informed and cooperate with decisions previously discussed and reached by the medical team but, if such agreement were not possible, these decisions would proceed and be enacted in any case.