Wearable medical devices are widely used for monitoring and treatment of patients. Electrostatic discharge can render these devices unreliable and cause a temporary or permanent disturbance in their operation. In a healthcare environment, severe electrostatic discharge (ESD) can occur while a patient, lying down or sitting on a hospital bed with a wearable device, discharges the device via a grounded bedframe. To protect the devices from ESD damage, the worst-case discharge conditions in the usage environment need to be identified. Previous studies by authors revealed that such events could be more severe than the conventional human metal model (HMM). However, the impact of various body postures and device location on the body and the severity of the discharge current compared with HMM have not been investigated for healthcare environments. This study is an attempt to address the gap in the literature by investigating severe discharges in such environments and characterizing their current waveforms for three postures (standing on the floor, sitting, and lying down on a hospital bed), two device locations (hand and waist), and four body voltages (2, 4, 6, and 8 kV). This study highlights that the IEC 61000-4-2 standard may not be sufficient for testing wearable medical devices.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Current measurement; Discharge current; Discharges (electric); electrostatic discharge; Electrostatic discharges; Fault location; Hidden Markov models; medical device; Metals; peak current; peak current derivative; Sparks; wearable device

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1558-187X; 0018-9375

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





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Publication Date

01 Jan 2023