Friday, January 26, 2018

TPCN Spotlight: SPI Ricardo Hernandez

1. Tell me your history with poison control and how you became a SPI.. (Length of time worked there/background/passion for this, etc.)

Been working at the South Texas Poison Center since December 2003. Aside from taking calls in English, I am also a designated Spanish call-taker. I am a Medical Doctor and I am also a Registered Nurse.

I’ve always had a passion for emergency settings and it was during my work in the ER that I called the poison center on a case. After the 2nd call to them, I was hooked. Actually I was intrigued with the amount of knowledge the SPI had. The rest is history.

2. What do you think people need to know about the people who answer the phones for poison control?

I think the biggest thing for people to know is that those answering the phone are medical professionals from varying disciplines and these medical professionals bring a lot of experience with them. The other thing is that any and all calls are strictly confidential.

3. What do you enjoy most about your job and why?

I enjoy the camaraderie between SPIs. We are all here to help someone but there are times we ask each other for help or for their medical opinion. I enjoy the way we all work together like a well-oiled machine. The other aspect is when a potential emergency situation is resolved and our input helped with that.

4. Why do you think it is important for people to have poison control as a resource for emergency help?

It helps in the fact that most people that are exposed to something with potential poisoning, most do not require medical attention. I always tell the caller if you need to go in for medical attention, I’ll be the first to tell you, if you don’t, I’ll be the first to tell you. Calling poison control helps people save time and money and avoid catching something while they wait to be seen by medical personnel. Oh and the call is FREE!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Laundry Pod Challenge: How Dangerous is it?

What started out as a silly joke has now gone viral; but this new social media challenge can have very dangerous consequences. Teens and adults are posting videos online of a laundry pod challenge that entails that the person challenged, eat laundry pods in various ways. Sadly, these videos show teens and adults following through with this challenge.

Why is this dangerous?
Laundry pods are full of chemicals used to clean your clothing- not anything you would ever want to eat. Ingredients in the laundry pods include ethanol, hydrogen peroxide and polymers, and its high concentration makes the tiny laundry pods toxic. While swallowing it can cause a mild stomach ache (including possible vomiting and diarrhea), if the liquid detergent were to find its way into the lungs, it can cause breathing problems and severe complications. The liquid from laundry pods can also cause burns to the eye and skin.

Please DO NOT ever attempt to ingest laundry pods- it is dangerous and could cause you serious harm.
If someone bites into a detergent pod, remove it immediately. Wash the face and hands with plenty of water and gently wipe out the mouth. DO NOT induce vomiting. Then call the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.

If pod contents squirt into someone’s eye, rinse the eye with gently running water for 15-30 minutes. Then, call the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222 for advice.