Unraveling Fears of Poisoning
June 25, 2010
Health Sciences Campus, Kochi
The WHO Yellow Tox directory lists the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi as the only Poison Control Center (PCC) in India.
This and other such facts were presented by Dr. V. V. Pillay in his invited talk at the International Conference on Emergency Medicine (ICEM 2010) in Singapore during June 9-12, 2010.
Currently Chief of the Amrita PCC, Dr. Pillay was one of very few Indian toxicologists invited to deliver a talk at this event.
He spoke about the role played by an analytical toxicology laboratory in the management of poisoning emergencies.
“In many countries of the world, poisoning constitutes a significant proportion of medical emergencies, many of which are accidental or suicidal in nature, and a few homicidal,” he explained.
“Usually only government-controlled forensic science laboratories undertake toxicological analyses and too for forensic purposes, not for clinical purpose,” he said.
The Amrita PCC helps with such emergencies; this specialized unit provides information on nearly a million toxic agents.
The Toxscreen, a preliminary screening test for detecting drugs and poisons is routinely performed here.
Dr. Pillay also discussed additional and advanced tests such as Toxscreen Full, Toxscreen Stage I and Toxscreen Stage II that are also performed at the Amrita PCC.
“Even though a few institutes have set up such centers, the number is grossly inadequate. The World Health Organization has been trying to redress this distressing situation in several countries, including India, by promoting such centers.”
In addition to the Amrita PCC, the WHO Yellow Tox lists three Poison Information Centers (PICs) in India.
The PICS provide accurate and latest information resources but no analytical facilities for sampling body fluids from living victims, as in a PCC.
The conference was organized by the Society for Emergency Medicine in Singapore, which is a member of the International Federation for Emergency Medicine (IFEM).
It was attended by more than 4000 emergency medicine physicians from all parts of the world.