JAN. 26, 2006 | Just recently the Arkansas Poison Control Center, operated by the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), got a call from parents whose toddler had swallowed prescription blood pressure medication.
“The child wasn’t showing any symptoms initially, so we had to convince the parents to take the child to the hospital to be examined,” said Howell Foster, Pharm.D., managing director of the poison control center. “It was a good thing because eventually the child became unconscious and required treatment.”
He said the child recovered from the episode but it’s another example of how the poison control center can offer potentially lifesaving aid.
Last year, the center completed the requirements to be certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. It is now one of only about 60 certified poison control centers in
“Certification of the center recognizes our commitment to providing fast, accurate poison safety information to our callers,” Foster said. “This achievement is a tribute to those who have worked to make the poison control center a success over the years.”
Since 1973, the
The Arkansas Poison Control Center is a 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-per-year service that is accessible anywhere in the state by calling toll free 1-800-222-1222 or 1-800-3POISON (1-800-376-4766). Many calls come from a frantic mom or dad holding a screaming infant who has just swallowed something – a household cleaner, a mothball, a leaf from a household plant, etc.
Most of these calls can be treated at home with the help of the poison control center, Foster said, avoiding the hazards of time delay or the expense of a visit to a clinic or hospital emergency room.
For the poison control center to become certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the center met several requirements, including:
- Providing round-the-clock service to both health care professionals and the public;
- Maintaining a telecommunications system that can handle the call volume and assures ready access;
- Maintaining a direct phone line that is heavily publicized throughout the state;
- Ensuring the nationwide toll free poison control number works in the area;
- Maintaining comprehensive and updated poison information resources; and
- Staffing of the call center must always include a certified specialist in information, which will be a doctor, pharmacist or registered nurse.
Students from the
“Having the certified specialists assures that we will be one of the safest poison control centers in the world, with experienced and skilled assistance always available,” said Charles Stutts, education coordinator for the drug control center.
Callers to the poison control center will be asked several questions about the person who has ingested the poison, including age, weight, time of ingestion, product ingested and observed symptoms. Stutts said the information will allow the staff at the center to make a clinical judgment on the best course of treatment.
Links on This Page
Here’s to Your Health on the