I cannot believe that any governor could be so near-sighted as to even consider closing his or her state's poison centers. However, according to an article by Sarah Arnquist in yesterday's New York Times that is exactly what Governor Schwarzenegger is considering. I have never understood how he came to be governor and this to me, as a pediatrician, is just very bad judgment. Having cared for multiple kids who ingested anything they could find, a poison control center is vital and invaluable.
The article states that 35,000 people died in 2005 from poisoning and if the California poison control centers are closed, people will rush to the nearest ER. But where are the ER doctors supposed to get the most up-to-date information about the poison a child or adult has ingested? Yes, there is a National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222, but a state still has to pay for the calls. The state's contribution to maintain the poison centers is just six million dollars. Perhaps the Governor could sell some of his many Hummers or other toys to make up the deficit? I cannot believe that any state official could care so little for the lives of children in his or her state; most of the calls are for kids under age five. We all should speak up and tell the Governor to find somewhere else to save the six million dollars.