The Department of Emergency Medicine is intimately involved in the Regional Poison Control Center operated by the Children's Hospital of Michigan. Dr. Suzanne R. White, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, serves as the Medical Director of the PCC with Dr. Cynthia Aaron and Dr. Matthew Hedge serving as associated medical directors.
The CHM regional PCC was established in 1958. It is the ninth largest poison center in the US serving 18 counties of southeastern Michigan. The PCC provides 24/7 service to the public and health care professionals with an annual call volume of approximately 70,000 calls.
The Poison Control Center serves as the educational center for toxicology and provides a one month intensive course in toxicology covering the EM core curriculum in toxicology. The course is available to medical students, physicians and pharmacists. We currently educate between 80-120 students per year in this manner.
Education is one of our major goals. It is estimate that 2,000,000 accidental poisonings could be avoided each year through poison prevention tactics. For this reason a double pronged educational system has been established, one targeted at health care professionals and one at the general public. A public educator is devoted to this project with outreach to the 18 county area each year to speak to schools, health fairs, day care centers and hospitals.
The Poison Center is the primary site for the two year ACGME recognized fellowship in Medical Toxicology. Fellows are actively involved in patient care, teaching, and research.
The Poison Center serves as the data collection center for most poisonings, providing the most extensive epidemiological data available, compiled in Washington DC and published once yearly. This allows us as a nation to observe trends in poisoning, drug abuse, and fatalities and allows us to focus poison prevention activities. For example, PCC data tells us that the number one national killer is carbon monoxide, the number one pharmaceutical overdose is acetaminophen, and the child between the age of one and three is the most frequent victim of accidental poisoning.
The Poison Center is actively involved in the prevention and management of environmental poisoning. The personnel are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of various toxins and refer patients to health care facilities, guide physicians in their management, provide referral to agencies that investigate workplace or environmental poisoning (OSHA) or EPA, and then follow the patient until symptoms are resolved. This service is provided free to the affected patient.