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A Day In the Life of a Poison Center

Posted: February 11th, 2010 | Tags: , , | 23 Comments »

We hope you enjoyed our day in the life of the Poison Center blog-a-thon yesterday.  Those 282 cases represent just a single day here at IPC; that translates to over 100,000 people that we help each year in Illinois.  Hopefully after reading these sample cases, you’ve learned that the IPC can help with just about any substance out there, and that there is no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed to call, because we really have heard it all!  To view the cases again, click on any/all the following hourly posts:

Midnight – 7:00am (35 calls)

7:00am-8:00am (6 calls)

8:00am-9:00am (6 calls)

9:00am-10:00am (10 calls)

10:00am-11:00am (13 calls)

11:00am-12:00noon (15 calls)

12:00noon-1:00pm (15 calls)

1:00pm-2:00pm (15 calls)

2:00pm-3:00pm (15 calls)

3:00-4:00pm (14 calls)

4:00pm-5:00pm (15 calls)

5:00pm-6:00pm (16 calls)

6:00pm-7:00pm (18 calls)

7:00pm-8:00pm (19 calls)

8:00pm-9:00pm (20 calls)

9:00pm-10:00pm (19 calls)

10:00pm-11:00pm (17 calls)

11:00pm-11:59pm (14 calls)

We showed you a 1-2 sentence summary of the calls, but a lot more goes into each one. Some calls can take 15 minutes each or more.  We take the time to get a full history surrounding each exposure, research and assess the situation, inform the caller of the expected effects, and also describe any interventions that may need to be done to ensure the best possible outcome. We’re not just a voice on the phone; we collaborate with other health care professionals (nurses, pharmacists, doctors, EMS) and experts (mycologists, herpetologists) to ensure that every potential poisoning we are involved with is managed with the most up-to-date and best possible toxicology information. We are proud that over 90% of the calls we handle can be resolved at the site of exposure, saving unnecessary medical costs.  Last year, the IPC saved Illinois taxpayers over $50 million.

The key element of our success is our poison specialists, who field these calls day after day with concern, respect, and experience.  All of our specialists are health care professionals specially trained in toxicology, dedicated to helping anyone who has come into contact with a potentially harmful substance.

They are:

Dr Abrar Baig, PharmD, CSPI

Dr Reggie Brown, MD, CSPI

Tony Burda, Rph, DABAT

Sharon Cook, BS

Amy Deitche, BSN, RN, CSPI

Jerome Dimaano ,RN, CSPI

Briggetta Ducre, RN, CSPI

Tracy Esposito, RN

Helena Fields, BA

Connie Fischbein BS, CSPI

Marco Gonzalez, BA

Babbs Hoard, EMT-P

Karen Hoeller, Rph, CSPI

Cindy Howard, RN, CSPI

Dr Art Kubic, PharmD, CSPI

Dr Jessica Metz, PharmD, CSPI

Dr Erin Pallasch, PharmD, CSPI

Miguel Razo, RN, CSPI

Dr Todd Sigg, PharmD, CSPI

Jessica Sims, BS

Dr Mike Strugala, PharmD

Gennady Vatel, EMT-P

Dr Cheryl Webster, PharmD, CSPI

*CSPI: Certified Specialist in Poison Information

Illinois residents can call the poison center for information or help for free.  The IPC is a non-profit organization.  Federal and state grants and appropriations provide 60% of our funding, and we depend on these grants as well as private donations from foundations and individuals to cover our costs.

We would love to hear what you thought about our blog-a-thon, please leave a comment below.

Don’t forget to check out the “My Child Ate…” resource center which gives toxicity level and treatment information for the most common substances/products ingested by children.

Until next Tuesday,


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Related posts:

  1. Welcome to the Illinois Poison Center Blog
  2. You might say the Illinois Poison Center is the antidote to unnecessary health care costs

23 Comments on “A Day In the Life of a Poison Center”

  1. 1 Dana Kozlov said at 11:58 am on February 25th, 2010:

    Hi. This is Dana Kozlov at CBS 2 News. I’m interested in doing a story on your funding issues. Please contact me.
    Dana Kozlov

  2. 2 ILPoisonCenter said at 9:48 am on March 1st, 2010:

    Thanks so much for the wonderful piece you did on CBS 2 last night (5:30pm and 10:00pm):
    Truly appreciate your support. Don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help you in any way.

  3. 3 Poison Center Call Log Full of Humor and Parental Terror @ Technology News said at 7:15 am on March 16th, 2010:

    […] save lives with a few words. Last month, the Illinois Poison Control Center published a “Day in the Life of a Poison Center” on its blog, showing the nature of each of the calls it received one day/night cycle. […]

  4. 4 World Hospital Directory - 16,000 Hospitals WorldWide said at 5:15 am on March 17th, 2010:

    […] buddy Tony Chen (formerly of Hospital Impact) sent me this link and the following […]

  5. 5 The Illinois Poison Control Center Shows Us Why Poison Control Centers are Important [The Questionable Authority] « Random Information said at 6:45 pm on March 17th, 2010:

    […] discovered the blog of the Illinois Poison Control Center. More specifically, I discovered the "Day in the Life of a Poison Center" feature they did last month. As medical blogging goes, this was brilliant. They posted very brief […]

  6. 6 Daily David - said at 9:41 am on March 18th, 2010:

    […] of terrific tales can be found at the Illinois Poison Control Center blog. There’s the story of the woman who accidentally grabbed toothpaste instead of lube when […]

  7. 7 A day at the poison hotline - Newstips Blog said at 11:12 am on March 18th, 2010:

    […] just a sample of nearly 300 calls fielded in one day by the Illinois Poison Center’s 24-hour hotline (1-800-222-1222) .  IPC posted them on an […]

  8. 8 Nimue said at 3:49 am on April 11th, 2010:

    Nice work. I learned about your website from a post on Very interesting and informative, thank you!

  9. 9 Michael Christopher said at 11:30 am on April 12th, 2010:

    Wow, there are some true gems on this list.

  10. 10 Poison Control Center | Ashley Ahn (Ash-lee Ohn) said at 11:14 pm on April 12th, 2010:

    […] into the PCC blog for Illinois. It is crazy how many emergencies they receive in a […]

  11. 11 Sweet Uncle Lou’s Friday Roundup: The “Games Don’t Take Long ENOUGH” Edition | Hire Jim Essian said at 9:02 am on April 16th, 2010:

    […] Real stories of Illinois Poison Control. My favorite? “An adult woman called because a battery leaked out of her personal massager and she was concerned about battery acid burns.” Mmm hmm. “Personal massager.” On a normal week, some of this stuff might qualify as nightmare fuel. But just WAIT until you get to the actual nightmare fuel this week. […]

  12. 12 Friday Flash… « SparkleShock said at 2:46 pm on April 16th, 2010:

    […] The Illinois Poison Center Blog is actually VERY interesting….check it out and see for yourself! […]

  13. 13 parable #210: a day in the life of a poison center « From the catalogs of babes said at 3:48 pm on April 24th, 2010:

    […] link on Facebook to a post from the Illinois Poison Control Center blog. It’s called “A Day in the Life of a Poison Center,” and the entry is simply a chronicle of every single call and inquiry the center […]

  14. 14 Illinois Poison Center Blog » Blog Archive » Will The Real Toxicologists Please Stand Up? said at 12:13 pm on June 8th, 2010:

    […] there is a potentially poisonous exposure. The best advice I have heard given from Grandma is: “Call the Poison Center”. Luckily, 90% of the time, the ingestion/exposure is not toxic and a few sips of water and a kiss on […]

  15. 15 Illinois Poison Center Blog » Blog Archive » There Are Bold Mushroom Pickers, And There Are Old Mushroom Pickers… said at 11:39 am on June 22nd, 2010:

    […] mushroom calls to the IPC involve small children who become intrigued by the appearance of little brown mushrooms sprouting in […]

  16. 16 Illinois Poison Center Blog » Blog Archive » Copper Sulfate: Pool Cleaner, Vineyard Helper or Unsuspected Summer Threat? said at 11:18 am on August 3rd, 2010:

    […] interesting case came into the Illinois Poison Center this week.  A frantic father called after his 3 year-old daughter inadvertently ingested copper […]

  17. 17 Hilarity « The Daily J said at 5:32 pm on September 4th, 2010:

    […] 4, 2010 A day in the life of a poison control center.  Awesome and terrifying. Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment […]

  18. 18 Illinois Poison Center Blog » Blog Archive » The Truth About E-Cigarettes: A Potential Poisoning Hazard said at 9:47 am on September 14th, 2010:

    […] the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) received a call from a parent whose toddler ingested some contents of an e-cigarette cartridge containing […]

  19. 19 Illinois Poison Center Blog » Blog Archive » “Ay, Ay, Ay…I Splashed_____in my Eye”: said at 2:44 pm on October 5th, 2010:

    […] plant. But to get a full scope of the types of calls Poison Centers recieve, check out “A Day In the Life of A Poison Center.” In fact, in 2008 over 113,000 calls were placed to US Poison Centers regarding ocular […]

  20. 20 Illinois Poison Center Blog » Blog Archive » “All I Did Was Go To The Bathroom And…” said at 9:34 am on October 19th, 2010:

    […] common call from a parent to the IPC often starts something like this…”All I did was go to the bathroom […]

  21. 21 Illinois Poison Center Blog » Blog Archive » Happy Halloween: Boo!…not Boo-Hoo. said at 11:11 am on October 26th, 2010:

    […] sticks and necklaces contain a compound called dibutyl pthlate.  Most calls to the Illinois Poison Center involve children either chewing on the glow item until it breaks open and ingesting some of the […]

  22. 22 Illinois Poison Center Blog » Blog Archive » ‘Tis the season for shopping…and giving (to the IPC) while you shop! said at 8:55 am on December 1st, 2010:

    […] out just a little bit of what we […]

  23. 23 Poison Centers: Saving Lives 24/7 « AAPCC said at 7:01 am on March 20th, 2012:

    […] For an idea about the types of calls poison centers get, see the Illinois Poison Center’s blog at  Poison center experts really have heard it […]

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