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Thursday 18th January 2018

Is texting a sign of recovery?

18th December 2008

A patient’s ability to use a mobile phone to send a text could be used as an indicator to show how ill they are.

The findings comes after doctor’s at UK music festivals – who treat hundreds of festivalgoers who have fainted or suffered panic attacks - noticed that as soon as they felt better, young people began to text their friends.

After noting they were generally well enough to return to the festival if they could text friends, doctors writing in the British Medical Journal suggest the test could be applied to busy A&E units.

The charitable trust Festival Medical Services supplies festivals with medical teams. At busy times, staff found they needed to find out who required further treatment and who could be discharged.

Retired anaesthetist Dr Mike Sinclair, who has worked for Festival Medical Services for 25 years, said: "It started during a performance by Green Day at Reading in 2004 - we were inundated with people.

"Then we noticed that as soon as they could, teenagers would pull out their mobile phones and start texting their friends, telling them what had happened and arranging where to meet.

"At that point we realised that they must be well enough, provided they had no other injuries, to be released."

The text test was applied in subsequent years.

Jim Bethel, a lecturer in emergency care, said: "I can't imagine it would be a criteria for discharge in an A&E setting, but it could certainly make you less concerned than you otherwise might be about a particular patient."


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