Poisoning information hotline 16662
The Poisoning Information Centre hotline 16662 is open Monday 9:00-21:00, the remaining days Tuesday to Sunday the hotline will be active for 24 hours. The hotline, first of all, gives advice in cases of acute poisoning. Calls are charged at the general rate and the service is intended for health professionals as well as for the general public.
On the hotline 16662, one may take an anonymous call to enquire about any kind of acute poisoning, including with household chemicals and wrongly dosed medicines or poisoning of children. However, in cases of food poisoning a caller is redirected to the Merimetsa branch of the West Tallinn Central Hospital.
"The 3 years work period has confirmed the need in a hot line for poisoning cases, volume of calls comapring 2009 to 2010 increased 35,6%. Even more - volume of calls comparing 2010 to 2011 increased abruptly 233%. Both health service professionals and common citizens in trouble have called us. In future we hope to start running the hotline round the clock like in most European countries. This, however, depends on financing from the state budget", says Mare Oder, head of the Poisoning Information Centre.
The main purpose of the Poisoning Information Centre is reducing illnesses, health damage and death-rate due to cases of poisoning.
"It is not yet possible for every practicing physician or nurse to keep up with the most recent information in toxicology. The poisoning information hotline 16662 is a trustworthy source to practicians as well as for people in trouble", explains Mare Oder.
The centre employs experts who have attended international courses in toxicology and have a long practical experience in emergency medicine and intensive care. In complicated cases we contact physicians who have profound knowledge and experience in toxicology. People who receive calls can communicate, besides Estonian, also in Russian, Finnish and English.
The databases used by the Poison Information Centre include scientific articles, practice-based data collected by the Poison Information Centre of Finland and adapted for the Estonian conditions, and the Poisindex database used in the U.S. Altrough different databases are the quick way to find needful information, is centres contemporary library valuable source for updating existing and composing new poisoning management monographs.
The world practice has shown that, besides offering mutual support by colleagues, such centres can reduce the number of visits to departments of emergency medicine and ambulance calls.
According to the Estonian Forensic Science Institute, over four hundred people died in Estonia in 2007 because of poisoning. In 2009 this number shows decreasing trend - 325 deaths, in next year 300 deaths. Most dangerous to small children are household chemicals and medical drugs, while most often happening to adults are intoxications caused by alcohol and its surrogates, as well as by poisonous gases.