If someone is unconscious, seizing or unable to breathe, dial 911 right away.
When you call the Virginia Poison Center’s 24/7 hotline at (800) 222-1222, you’ll talk with a registered nurse who specializes in poison information and has access to the latest information about symptoms and treatments.
If we are called quickly after an incident, most calls can be safely handled over the phone. Our poison specialists will ask you about:
- The substance you’re calling about
- How much was taken
- When it happened
- Any treatments you already tried
- The patient’s medical history
The specialist will assess the severity and advise first-aid actions. For serious poisonings, patients are quickly referred to the nearest appropriate health care facility and recommendations for cost-effective care are provided to the treating physician.
Our nurses often follow-up with callers to check on the patient’s condition, assess the outcome of any treatments and monitor for development of delayed toxic effects.
For outpatient visits, our medical toxicology clinic is available from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursdays. Patients must have a referral from their primary care physician. For appointments, call (804) 628-4242.
We serve as a 24/7 resource for physicians, emergency medical personnel and other health care professionals by providing the most current information on assessment and treatment of toxic exposures.
In the event of a rare poisoning, a patient with significant toxicity or unusual presentations, physicians can contact us 24/7 for a phone consultation with one of our four toxicologists, who are all fellowship trained and board eligible/certified in clinical or medical toxicology.
The toxicologists are also available for bedside toxicology consultations at VCU Medical Center or outpatient clinical evaluation of patients with acute or chronic occupational and environmental exposures.
A confidential electronic medical record is generated from each call to the center. Calls are routinely assessed for quality assurance, and call data is analyzed for educational and epidemiologic purposes.
Cases are evaluated for unusual poisonings or clusters of patients with similar effects. In cooperation with the Center for Disease Control, all call data (with patient identification data removed) is transmitted in real time to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, where it’s analyzed for predetermined substance data and clinical syndromes.