Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Av 5761 - July 25, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

Diplomate, Board Certification of Emergency Medicine

Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine Ma'ayenei Hayeshua Hospital

Mrs. R. from Bnei Brak called me last week on a case which is now amusing, but at that time was worrisome. She had cooked oatmeal and after eating some and feeding it to her baby, she found a battery in the oatmeal.

This will remind us what to do in this case and in all cases of suspected ingested poisons. I have discussed this in detail in the past, but I will review the basics again. First of all make sure the child is breathing and not choking. The Heimlich maneuver to help choking victims and CPR to keep people alive until help comes must be learned -- it is a course that takes one day or two mornings.

Do not stick fingers in the throat to induce vomiting. Ipecac was given in the past to make people vomit, but it works too slowly, and may make giving the antidote more difficult. Vomiting is especially dangerous in ingestion of petroleum-based products, caustics (such as acids, drain cleaners, toilet cleaners and oven cleaners), and in a groggy or unconscious victim.

Activated charcoal is the most effective way of absorbing poisons, and I advocate that it should be in everyone's home. Once it has been determined that a possible poison has been eaten, a call should be made to the Poison Control Center for further instructions. In Israel the number to contact is 04-852-9205. They can be reached 24 hours a day.

Unfortunately, in Israel, childproof caps have not yet caught on, and Bubbe's medicines and basin cleaners can often be found by curious toddlers and tasted. Dangerous ingestions include caustics (here we don't give charcoal, but give water instead), heart medicines, Acamol (paracetomol, or acetaminophen), button batteries, wild mushrooms, iron preparations, and certain plants and berries. In the last case and with mushrooms, try to bring a sample with you to the emergency department.

Mrs. R. did call Poison Control, and yes, mother and baby are fine. Write me in care of the Yated.

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