Ill. Poison Center faces shut down, turning to public for help - FOX 32 News Chicago

Ill. Poison Center faces shut down, turning to public for help

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

When teens started drinking ‘purple drank,’ taking shots of hand sanitizer to get high and toddlers were mistaking laundry detergent pods for candy – The Illinois Poison Center warned you.

Now, the IPC faces a shut-down next month unless the state House follows in the footsteps of the Senate and votes to stop its closure.

“Huge impact. I lived in a state where they actually closed their poison center and E-R volumes just went through the roof unfortunately,” said Mary Otting, RN and EMS Coordinator at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Otting said the poison center heralds a call every five minutes.

“And I know last year they took over 80,000 calls,” said Otting in an interview with FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis.

“That really saves literally tens of thousands of ER visits and ambulance runs and 9-1-1 calls every year,” said Michael Wahl, Medical Director of The Illinois Poison Center.

Wahl said the IPC is in a $500,000 hole and explained the IPC’s fate in a letter to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

“I think really what it came down to is the economic crisis so for the state we really have a tremendous problem when you look at everything in Springfield so we took a big cut in 2009 and then certainly on the federal side things changed a lot in 2010,” said Wahl.

Wahl said social media and a new website has helped the IPC spread the word.

SavetheIPC.com where people who really want to keep our services going can go to and they can send a letter or make a call to their legislature to keep us open,” said Wahl.

FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis reports the state’s poison center was the first in the country opening its doors in 1953. Wahl said if it closes, Illinois would be the first state in the country without a poison center. Now, the IPC’s future lies in the state’s House of Representatives who could vote on its fate within the next two weeks.

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