Nov 25, 2003: Who will answer the poison center calls for 38 counties on December 19 when the Southern Poison Center closes?

Due to lack of funding, Southern Poison Center will be closing on December 19, 2003. No provisions have been made to date for coverage of the 38 counties that call SPC from 7 am to 11 pm. Since 2001, Middle TN Poison Center (MTPC) has been covering the entire state from 11 pm to 7 am and will continue to do so.  MTPC is certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers and adheres to the strict requirements regarding poison control standards.

MTPC presented a budget to the State Dept of Health that would enable us to cover SPC’s service area but we are not sure when or if we will receive funding.

The ramifications of lack of poison center coverage are: 

  • Emergency Department visits will increase because there will be no triage system to keep kids with nontoxic ingestions at home.
  • Visits to the pediatrician’s office will increase for the same reason. 
  • Health care costs will increase (every dollar spent in the poison center saves $7 for health care).
  • Physicians and health care providers will not have physician consultation for critically ill poisoned patients.
  • Morbidity and mortality related to poisonings will increase. 

I will keep you informed of any developments.

As always, if there are any questions, call the MTPC.


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Donna Seger, M.D.

Medical Director, Middle Tennessee Poison Center