June 2 is Oregon Poison Center Day at the State Capitol in Salem

05/28/99    Portland, Ore.

Presentations to highlight specialized, round-the-clock, statewide service.



Wednesday, June 2; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Oregon State Capitol Galleria


Oregon Poison Center Awareness Day. Includes exhibits about preventing accidental pediatric poisoning; other poison awareness exhibits; distribution of "Mr. Yuk" poison prevention stickers; poison center staff will discuss the center's services.


The Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health Sciences University offers treatment recommendations and advice for individuals who have experienced a toxic exposure, as well as consultation with physicians and other health care providers. The service is available statewide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While the state provides a small operating grant, most of the center's $1 million budget is subsidized by OHSU.

"Roughly 60 percent of calls to the center involve children under the age of six who've gotten into a common household product," said Sandra Giffin, R.N., department director of the Poison Center. "About 80 percent of the time we can effectively manage a patient at home without them needing to go to an emergency department. That doesn't mean that what they got into wasn't poisonous. It means that the nurses can do a series of follow-up phone calls to make sure the patient's condition is being evaluated appropriately," said Giffin.

The nurses who handle calls in the Poison Center all have clinical experience in either emergency medicine, critical care or pediatrics. They also go through a very intensive orientation process at OHSU. The staff nurses are backed up by seven physicians who are board-certified in medical toxicology. In addition to being a clinical resource, the poison center also offers a fellowship program in medical toxicology and does extensive academic research into toxicology and poison prevention education. And center staff also offer public education programs on poison prevention along with professional training for physicians and other providers to manage patients with drug overdose or exposure to toxics.

"This is a unique service that can save lives," said Giffin. "We are hosting this event at the state capitol to make sure legislators and the public are fully aware of the value of the Poison Center."

NOTE: The public numbers for the Oregon Poison Center are 494-8968 in the Portland calling area or 1-800-452-7165 elsewhere in Oregon or Southwest Washington.