[AMRadio] Insulin Pump RFI?

Ed Berbari eberbari at indy.rr.com
Thu Mar 3 17:15:30 EST 2005


The interference problem between RF sources and medical devices is real, but
fortunately a declining one.  For many years the medical device industry did
not do a good job in their designs but most devices were in a controlled
enviroment.  However the medical devices have moved to the real world with
such devices as pacemakers, etc.

A lot of the intereference has to do with the mode of modulation.  The newer
digital phones can actually have peak power outputs of 10-12 Watts and
indeed could cause some problems with devices like pacemakers.  This problem
was identified early on and there has been a fix.

However the risk can be real.   http://www.ou.edu/engineering/emc/


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim candela" <jcandela at prodigy.net>
To: "Discussion of AM Radio" <amradio at mailman.qth.net>
Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 7:12 AM
Subject: RE: [AMRadio] Insulin Pump RFI?

> I asked my brother, a diabetic, about radio interference to his insulin
> pump. He is a lawyer, and I hoped to get a legal answer to a hypothetical
> case where he went into insulin shock as a result of my being on the air
> waves:
> Question:
>  John,
>    A hypothetical case. Your my neighbor with a
>  insulin pump, and I am a federally licensed ham radio
>  operator. I am transmitting within the law on a
>  licensed frequency, running legal power, etc. Your
>  pump is susceptible to strong radio waves... One day I
>  am talking on the air, and while talking, a ambulance
>  takes you away. Seems your in insulin shock due to a
>  pump malfunction. Where is the law on this issue?
>  Jim
> Answer:
> Jim,
> You are a mad man.  Actually, from looking at the manual of this thing the
> more likely problem is from the pump interfering with other devices using
> radio frequencies.  The RFs on the pump are used to transmit readings from
> glucose test meter to the pump.  The book says that interference will not
> affect the actual pump operation.  As to your question the manual says
> the pump must comply with Part 15 of the FCC rules and it must accept any
> interference received.  That aside, if I survive in your scenario, look
> John
> Side note: If his insulin pump was creating interference, and causing me
> trouble receiving the Collins net this Wednesday, would it be appropriate
> ask my brother to turn that darn thing off? :-)
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