A South Padre Island spring break incident involving water bottles tainted with drugs couldn’t have come at a better time to illustrate National Poison Prevention Week.
Dr. David Baker, Scott & White’s Central Texas Poison Center managing director, and his staff of “poison experts” worked with Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville to treat the 100 spring break revelers poisoned by the drugged water.
“The physicians called us,” Baker said. “We are in the first responder world, where we help doctors treat and monitor poison victims appropriately.”
About 85 percent of poison center calls come from the public, with 15 percent coming from hospitals or doctors. The center answers calls 24 hours a day to help people exposed to poison or to answer questions about a potential poisoning
“If you can think of a question, we have an answer for you, even if it’s not the one you want,” Baker said. “My job is to see that our people on the phones have the resources they need to be able to answer incoming questions.”
Scott & White joined with other poison centers around the country to promote National Poison Prevention Week. Started by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, the event was designed to raise awareness about the dangers and prevention of poisoning.
Community Education Specialist Jennifer Watson said poisoning can happen to anyone anywhere at anytime and suggested the Poison Help number — (800) 222-1222 — be posted in homes and programmed into cellphones.
“If the unthinkable happens, it’s good to know help is just a phone call away,” Watson said.