Vicki Coppen Teaches the Club about Poison Control
The Fernandina Beach Rotary Club recently welcomed as its speaker Vicki Coppen, Education Coordinator for the Poison Information Center of Jacksonville. Coppen, who is also the emergency room manager for Shands Hospital Jacksonville, explained that the Center located at Shands covers 42 counties in Florida as well as the Virgin Islands. The Center handled nearly 60,000 calls in the past year and made some 51,000 follow-up calls to check on potential poison victims. Most of the calls made to the Center are regarding children under the age of six who have ingested potentially poisonous substances by accident. The second highest number of calls comes from senior citizens who have mixed up their prescription medications or missed taking a prescription dose and are unsure what to do. According to Coppen, some calls arise from “purposeful misuse,” which she said occurs when individuals unintentionally over-medicate themselves. Coppen said the Center’s main objective is to determine if potential poisoning victims should be taken to the emergency room, but in nearly 80 percent of cases a trip to the ER is not necessary. She closed by noting that the Center provides its services for free and encouraged anyone with a possible poisoning situation to call the Poison Help Line phone number at 800-222-1222.