(photo credit: Courtesy)
More than 30,000 laymen and medical personnel called the National Poison Control
Center at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center in 2011 to determine whether specific
ingested substances were potentially or actually poisonous or to get other
While initially the Health Ministry wanted the center
reserved for medical professionals, it decided to encourage residents to use the
24- hour service so lives could be saved, without having a physician to consult
with it first.
The report showed that most accidental poisoning occurs in
the home. The use of the phone-in center is increasing, with more awareness of
it among the public, the ministry said. It urged parents and others to ensure
that all toxic materials are locked up safely so children have no
Last year, there was a 3.8 percent increase in queries to the
center and a 146% rise since 1995. The largest share of exposures to poison –
53% – led to a call to the center within an hour. Queries came not only from
homes and hospitals, but also from health funds and community clinics. The share
of calls from physicians on behalf of patients has declined steadily over the
years, apparently because there is a fee involved. Bentur recommended that the
fee for consultation with toxicologists be canceled and that more nurses and
pharmacists be hired, with funding provided by the government as in the United
States and elsewhere.
Medications were the most common cause of suspected
poisoning (15,454 queries) followed by chemicals (11,281).
concluded there was “no doubt” that consultation with a national poison control
center is of great assistance in getting proper treatment for poisoning
The center, whose phone number is (04) 854 2092, is run by Prof.
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