Tiny devices known as radio frequency tags, which allow drivers to drive through tolls without stopping and are attached to clothes to make shoplifting a lot harder are now being used frequently in hospitals. Some, for example, are being used to monitor blood quality. A new study, however, suggests these tags may be dangerous when used in places like the intensive care unit. It claims the signals the device gives when read by an electronic reader can interfere with the working critical care equipment. Forty-three medical devices were given 123 tests. Thirty-four incidents of electromagnetic interference were reported, twenty- two of these being life-threatening malfunctions such as stopping a syringe pump. The others were not as life threatening but still served as a distraction to medical workers. The study suggests before using the devices, hospitals should ensure the equipment does not cause any interference problems.
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