SAN ANTONIO (Nov. 10, 2014) — For 19 years, the South Texas Poison Center has been taking calls from frantic parents and panicked individuals who are worried about poisoning emergencies. One thing these Texans don’t have to worry about is someone answering the poison center number: 800-222-1222.
Once again, the South Texas Poison Center has earned its reaccreditation as a regional poison center by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. The South Texas Poison Center, part of the Department of Emergency Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, is one of six certified poison centers in Texas and 52 in the United States. It is supported by state and federal funding.
Miguel Fernández, M.D., medical director for the poison center, said accreditation represents a major accomplishment and means this center has met national standards of excellence for poison centers.
“I’m especially proud of the quality of our staff members who work daily to respond to calls and serve as a resource for health care providers and the public,” Dr. Fernández said. “It is exciting to be celebrating our 19th anniversary of taking calls and our reaccreditation as a poison center.”
The South Texas Poison Center provides life-saving poison information and treatment recommendations to families and health care professionals across Texas. Each year, the center handles more than 26,000 human exposure calls and more than 14,000 poison information calls.
The center is contacted daily by parents, grandparents, child care providers, teachers, health care providers, pharmacists, nurses and physicians in every area of practice regarding poisonings with medications, household and industrial products, and other potentially dangerous substances.
The South Texas Poison Center employs nine specialists in poison information who are all certified. The center maintains the most stable poison center staff in the country, with no health care provider turnover in more than 10 years.
To be accredited by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the local center was required to meet strict standards, including providing 24-hour poison information and telephone management to the public and health care professionals; employing physicians, nurses or pharmacists certified as specialists in poison information; employing a board-certified medical toxicologist to provide medical oversight and direction; providing an ongoing quality improvement program; developing and maintaining written guidelines for evaluation and management of toxic exposures, and offering public and professional educational programs.
The center provides free, confidential and multilingual services by calling 800-222-1222.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 13 percent of academic institutions receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 31,000 graduates. The $787.7 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.