Pitfalls in the management of the poisoned patient



Publication Details

Kerins, M., Dargan, P. I., Jones, A. L. (2003). Pitfalls in the management of the poisoned patient. Current Medicine, 33 90-103.


Acute poisoning is a common problem worldwide. In the United Kingdom (UK) it accounts for an estimated 10–20% of acute medical admissions and 5–10% of the workload of Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments.1–4 Episodes of self-poisoning in the UK continue to rise, with the rates being among the highest in Europe.5–7 The severity of poisoning has decreased over the past decade with the introduction of safer drugs, such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, but the total number of deaths from poisoning in the UK remains unchanged at more than 3,000 per year.2 This paper will address common pitfalls in the management of poisoned patients where clinical management could be improved and medicolegal problems avoided

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