Health Professionals at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Ctr.  

Jan. 31: Poison and Drug Information Center

Steve Narang  

There’s no better example of our unique WHY at Banner Good Samaritan than our nationally recognized toxicology program and Poison and Drug Information Center. Almost every week the media reports on how this clinical care team helps our community.

As we work to elevate our other programs to the level of institutes that draws patients far and wide, what can we learn from our programs such as Toxicology/Poison Center that have demonstrated their value to patients and clinical providers throughout the Southwest and the country?

Let’s hear from Sharyn Welch, BGSMC director of the Poison Center to hear about their work. If you want to learn more about this unique program, please contact Sharon or Dr. Steven Curry directly at BGSMC.

Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center is one of 56 certified poison centers accredited by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. We offer a free 24-hour emergency hotline providing all residents and health care professionals in Maricopa County and in Arizona first aid and treatment recommendations for accidental and intentional poisonings. Services are available in more than 150 languages. 

Our Center participates in a national surveillance program which is currently the only near real time system in place to monitor potentially critical trends in reported symptoms that could indicate a biological or chemical threat in the United States.

Staffing consists of RNs who are specialists in Poison Information; half are certified specialists.  Our department also has poison information providers and a community educator who does outreach within the community. 

We manage accidental poison/drug exposures, intentional overdoses and many different bites/stings by Arizona critters (just to name a few).  We follow cases both at home and in a health care facility until we have a known outcome from the drug/substance involved. We manage poison or drug exposures of all ages -- we are not just for kids.

We can help answer your questions about medications, i.e., drug interactions, side effects, safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding, or about one of the venomous critters we have in Arizona-we can help you.

Our 2013 numbers:

  • About 75,000 incoming calls from the public and health care providers received
  • More than 100,000 follow-up calls done
  • About 74 percent of human exposures were managed safely at home (no Emergency Room needed).
  • It is estimated that poison centers help save more than $1.8 billion in medical costs and productivity annually.
  • The top five exposure calls for all ages managed at our center in 2013 were:
    • scorpion stings
    • analgesics
    • sedative/hypnotics/antipsychotic medications
    • household cleaners
    • personal care items/cosmetics

We wear many different hats while working in our department. We manage: 

  • After hour’s disease reporting line for several health departments
  • Assists with surge capacity/overflow of major health issues, i.e. H1N1, food borne illnesses.
  • Rabies risk assessment for Maricopa County Public Health.
  • Banner's Occupational Health Post Exposure Prophylaxis line (PEP)-intake line to report needle sticks or exposure to a hazardous body fluid. 
  • Coming soon - BGSMC’s in-patient discharge call follow-ups.
  • Participated in more than 150 lectures, presentations, workshops and health fairs for the medical community as well as the public in 2013.
  • Actively involved in teaching students; nursing, medical students, Pharmacy and PharmD students and EMS (paramedic) rotators.

Steve Narang, MD, is the chief executive officer at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center
1111 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85006
(602) 839-2000
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