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“Your Call Is Important To Us…”

Posted: April 17th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

We are currently busy with other callers and will be with you shortly . . .

I really hate our new phone hold message . . . and so do those who use our services . . .  but we had to make the change to reflect our new reality.

For the past three years, the IPC has been the classic story of a struggling non-profit public health service faced with an increasing need for services while coming to grips with rapidly declining support from funding agencies.  In response to the loss of funding, the Illinois Poison Center has had to make difficult staffing changes to bring expenses in line with the new lower revenues.  The need for poison center services however, has increased tremendously in this same period of time, leading to a difficulty in meeting the needs of the Illinoisans we serve. Read more »

Meet the Illinois Poison Center Experts!

Posted: March 6th, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Calling the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) during an emergency can be a very stressful experience. As a parent calling about your child, your only concern is your child’s well-being; as a nurse or physician calling about a patient in your care, your focus is ensuring the best outcome for that patient. Even in a situation that requires you call to the IPC for yourself, YOU are your #1 concern.

Hysteria, panic, urgency, fear… are just some of the feelings that may take over when you call the IPC, however it’s the calming, reassuring and caring voice of the confident professional on the other line that makes the situation seem manageable. Now it’s time to  meet the people on the other side of the call, our experts! Read more »

Truth, Dare, Double Dare…

Posted: July 19th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Unfortunately, many poison exposure incidents start with 3 little words: “I dare you…”  A group of friends egging each other on, calling bravery into question (and often offering money if the dare is completed) can quickly turn a flippant suggestion into a potential medical emergency.

Here are some  dares the IPC staff has consulted on:

  • A 40 year old male was dared to chew and swallow a lizard for $50.  A live one.  There is a reason we have the Brookfield Zoo’s senior reptile keeper’s phone number on our quick number list! Read more »

‘Tis the season for shopping…and giving (to the IPC) while you shop!

Posted: December 1st, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

…At No Cost To You!

Who says Cyber Monday is the only time you can shop online to find great deals?! Did you know that by making every day and holiday purchases online via, a percentage of your total will be donated to the IPC? Yes indeed.

This means that every purchase you make on iGive will go to maintaining the Illinois Poison Center’s telemedicine services and public education programs.  Read more »

I had to call the Illinois Poison Center

Posted: April 13th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Last week, a Chicago Mom Blogger posted her experience with the Illinois Poison Center (IPC).  Accidental pediatric ingestions of potentially harmful substances make up over 50% of our calls in Illinois; we receive 40,000 to 45,000 calls annually regarding children 5 and under.  There are over 1.2 million calls in the U.S. fielded by designated poison centers from this age group.  It is an incredibly common story, but very often, an untold story. Read more »

Spring Fever and Poisonous Passion (aka Sexually Transmitted Poisons)

Posted: March 23rd, 2010 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

By Carol and our special guest blogger Dr Frank Paloucek

Sex and death share a history together in the arts and in medicine probably as far back as both coexist.  Normally, when you put the words ‘harmful’ and ‘sex’ in the same sentence, it would be one about sexually transmitted diseases (er, or maybe S & M).  But, did you know that poisons can also be transmitted via intimate contact and exposure to bodily fluids?  Reminds me of one of my favorite ‘statshots’ from the Onion®, on how ‘best to poison your adversary’:  “poison self, then have unprotected sex with adversary”.  Frank, who was my mentor in pharmacy school (and the man largely responsible for me being such a tox geek) happens to be an expert on sexually transmitted poisons (hey, everyone’s got to have a hobby) and he has graciously provided us with some of the strangest, most fascinating, but 100% true stories on how someone can be poisoned. Read more »

Wow, I Bet You Hear Lot of Interesting Stuff! What Kind of Calls Do You Get?

Posted: February 9th, 2010 | Tags: , , | No Comments »

I get asked this a lot when people find out I work for the Illinois Poison Center.  There is an intense fascination with the sorts of things that are called into a poison center.  These questions come in conversation, e-mail and the internet.  As an example, our very first Twitter response was “What is the craziest call you have ever gotten?” Read more »