We have all found ourselves in the near-panicked position of a nearly drained battery on our mobile device.
When coupled with a visit to a medical facility, it is easy to anticipate that the battery will be depleted long before the visit is completed. (Such is the nature of hospital visits and even casual medical office visits.)
But stop and think before you plug your phone into that handy USB socket for a quick charge.
According to an article on Healthline.com, it seems that there is a disturbing trend among visitors medical facilities, who don't hesitate to charge up their mobile devices.
If you look around the hospital room, you will notice that many of devices now have that familiar USB port into which a charging cable will fit. What's the harm of "plugging in" to snatch a few precious volts while you visit a sick friend or loved one, or as you wait around in the emergency room?
The problem is that the ports on those devices are usually not simple charging stations. Those ports are used by the machine's technicians to service and update a medical device that may be responsible for keeping someone alive.
Innocently plugging your phone into one of those devices could damage the medical device, rendering it inoperable.
Furthermore, a phone that is already infected with malware could potentially transmit the digital infection, causing the medical device to behave in unpredictable ways long after the phone is unplugged. Imagine the implications when that equipment is called into service in a medical emergency.
And that's before you consider the possibility of deliberate maliciousness, such as USB sticks which can "fry" electronics within seconds, or whether the charger itself might be malicious.
If you have ever been guilty of borrowing a few volts from a medical device, take heart, as it seems that the medical professionals who work in these facilities are also guilty of the same offense.
Perhaps the manufacturers should take more notice of the danger, and use a low-tech solution to solve the problem, such as a small warning label over those USB ports, or a cap secured with a screw.
If you often find yourself staring at a 10% battery warning, there are many compact devices that you can carry that will allow you to charge up when your battery is running low.
The small investment in one of your own personal charger is a much better idea than plugging into an unknown USB port. In the case of a health facility, it could possibly be a life-saver.