Poison Help 1-800-222-1222 [logo]

Increase font size


When accidents happen with chemicals, medicine, or household items, call Poison Help. Get help right away from a local poison expert.

If someone is unconscious or has trouble breathing, call 911.

Poison Centers

Wisconsin Poison Center Saves Dollars and Makes Sense for Wisconsin Residents

The Wisconsin Poison Center responded to more than 48,000 calls for help and information from residents and health care professionals in 2010. It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide critical information, disaster support and real-time public health surveillance for people in Wisconsin.

“Often, when people call to report a poisoning, it is not necessary for the patients to be seen in an emergency room (ER),” said David Gummin, MD, medical director of the Wisconsin Poison Center. “Specialists at the poison center explain what symptoms to watch for and can suggest simple recommendations to keep the exposed victim safe at home.” 

If a patient does need to be treated in an ER, the poison center will call the hospital in advance to explain the circumstances. However, most calls can be managed at home. Wisconsin Poison Center data indicate that 30,859 people exposed to poisons avoided trips to the ER in 2010. Assuming that each ER visit costs $1,200, this equates to a total annual cost savings of $37 million for Wisconsin residents. 

Health care providers at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and other health care facilities also call the poison center. In 2010, calls from health care facilities accounted for more than 27 percent of total calls to the Wisconsin Poison Center. Studies show that consulting with a poison center streamlines health care practices, utilization and costs. In addition, hospitalized patients benefit from shorter hospital stays when health care providers consult with poison centers on treatment.

To demonstrate this, a study was conducted by the Wisconsin Poison Center and Injury Research Center to see if a call to the poison center made a difference in the length of a hospital stay. Wisconsin hospital records from October 2007 through September 2008 were compared for poisoned patients who received poison center consultation with similarly poisoned patients for whom consultation was not requested. Results showed that patients whose cases were managed by poison center specialists benefited from reduced hospital stays by 0.94 days. 

“Even though the poison center is able to save Wisconsin residents tens of millions of dollars every year, state and federal funding is in jeopardy of being eliminated,” said Gummin. 

To reach your poison center, call 1-800-222-1222. You will be connected to the poison center that serves your area. Learn more about the Wisconsin Poison Center, by visiting their Web site Exit Disclaimer