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posted: 5/24/2014 5:01 AM

Poison center saves lives, state money

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Fifty-two million dollars. That is how much the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) saves our state each year. In a state plagued with budgetary issues, this cost savings benefits all Illinoisans.

But for me, it's not only about the money. To me, the IPC is invaluable -- how do you put a price tag on the 82,000 lives this service touches each year? As the co-chair of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Emergency Medical Services EMS Committee and chairman of the State EMS Advisory Council, I know this resource is necessary to protect the public safety of our residents. A call to the IPC instead of placing a call to 911 during a poison emergency keeps an ambulance and other valuable resources available to respond, allowing the men and women I represent to focus on critical care patients. In fact, by triaging these emergency calls, the IPC prevents an estimated 35,000 unnecessary ED visits and 20,000 ambulance runs.

The IPC is the state's first responder in dealing with poison emergencies. For parents who discover their small child drank a household cleaner or the senior citizen living alone who took too many prescription drugs, the IPC becomes their lifeline. For the nurse treating a severely poisoned patient in the hospital setting or the paramedic en route to an overdose victim, the IPC is our support system.

I ask the Illinois House of Representatives to support SB 2674 and save the IPC from closure. We cannot allow Illinois to be the only state in this country without a Poison Center.

Chief Mike Hansen


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