Background and Aims The poison control centers have been shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality in childhood accidental poisoning. The United Arab Emirates poison and drug information center does not operate 24/7 due to the shortage of well-trained staff. We aimed at identifying the time range of presentations of the poisoning cases to the emergency centers in the region as an indirect efficiency measure of the center.
Method We reviewed the electronic medical records for the documented triage check-in time for all the cases of accidental poison ingestion under the age of 10 years who presented in the year 2010 in the two tertiary emergency centers (ERs) in the region. We divided the 24 hour digital time clock into two distinct segments ie.0700 to 1500 hours (the working hours of the poison center in the region) and 1501 to 0659 hours (off working hours). The answers were compared using frequency bar plotting to get the percentage of children in each segment.
Results 200 children were seen between January 1st and December 31st 2010 in the ERs. Record was not available in six cases. 153 cases (76.5%) were checked-in in the 1501–0659 hours segment compared to the 41 cases (20.5%) during the working hours of the poison center.
Conclusion More than three-quarter of accidental poison ingestion cases presented to the emergency when the poison center was closed. Shifting the day time staff to provide evening and night time coverage can significantly improve the efficiency of the poison center and minimize cost.