|Jeanie Jaramillo, Poison Director|
My introduction to the world of poison control occurred when I was a pharmacy student and completed a rotation at the local poison center. Until that time, I had no idea how much poison centers actually do! Following pharmacy school, I completed a drug information residency which allowed me to manage cases at the poison center one day each week. Shortly after that, I was asked to serve as the managing director.
2. What do you think is one of the most important aspects of poison control services?
One of the most important aspects of poison control services is our work to help keep people from visiting emergency rooms unnecessarily. With approximately 80% of poisonings being manageable at home, it is so important to help people before they consider going to the emergency room. Aside from the expense of going to an ER, it can create a significant amount of anxiety, especially for children! Our healthcare professionals can assist callers by phone and in many cases, prevent these ER visits.
3. What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
What I enjoy most about my job is the ability to develop programs that PREVENT poisonings. One such program has been the Medication Cleanout of the Texas Panhandle Poison Center. By facilitating the removal of unused medications from homes, we've been able to prevent numerous poisonings and perhaps even deaths. It's extremely gratifying to have participants come through and tell us how much they appreciate the program.
4. What do you think the public needs to know regarding poison control?
I think that the public needs to know that poison control is not just for kids! We can help those who have taken too much medication, or perhaps taken someone else's medication (like a spouse or child). We complete an assessment over the phone and then make recommendations regarding whether that person can stay at home, or if they need to go to an emergency room or physician's office. Also, many people don't think of drug overdoses as poisonings, but they are! If a person has taken an overdose of a medication, on purpose or unintentionally, we can help. We can also help people decide whether a specific plant or a pesticide is poisonous.
Probably every director's nightmare is actually needing to call the poison center regarding something that they've had happen to them! I have had to call. While washing my face one night, I got some of the cleanser in my eye and it burned so badly! Of course, I couldn't read the bottle at the time, so I wasn't sure if I simply needed to irrigate my eye with water or if I needed to go the emergency room to see if my cornea was burned. I called one of my very own nurses at the poison center and she helped me out very quickly. Thankfully, I did not need to go to the ER!