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November 1984

A Regional Poison Control SystemEffect on Response to Hypothetical Poisonings

Author Affiliations

From the Massachusetts Poison Control System (Drs Marcus and Lovejoy and Mss Chafee-Bahamon and Arnold), Children's Hospital Medical Center (Dr Lovejoy), and Harvard Medical School (Dr Lovejoy), Boston; and Newark (NJ) Beth Israel Medical Center and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Newark (Dr Marcus).

Am J Dis Child. 1984;138(11):1010-1013. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1984.02140490010002

• Poisoning of young children frequently results in parents seeking help. Parents either telephone for poison treatment information or go directly to a physician's office, hospital clinic, or emergency room. To determine if a regional poison control system reduces the inappropriate use of medical treatment services, parents attending suburban and inner-city clinics were presented hypothetical pediatric poisoning episodes and asked how they would respond. Parents living in a state serviced by a regional poison information center (Massachusetts) telephoned for information significantly more often and consequently used medical treatment services 19% less than did parents living in a state with only local poison information centers (New Jersey). In both states, inner-city populations went for care whereas suburban populations called. Both inner-city and suburban populations responded to a regional poison center but to a different extent. More severe ingestions tended to increase the use of the regional center by the Massachusetts suburban population, whereas other populations tended to use even more direct services.

(AJDC 1984;138:1010-1013)