Testimonials | Illinois Poison Center 
About the Illinois Poison Center


Nov 25, 2020
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To share your IPC story click on Tell Us Your Story or visit our  Facebook page.   A sincere thank you to those who've already done so:



Nancy, IL Resident and Caretaker for Husband With Dementia:

“After picking up my husband’s medication from the pharmacy, my husband (who has dementia) and I went back to the car where I secured him safely so I could quickly run into another nearby store. When I returned 5 or so minutes later, I noticed he was chewing on something but didn’t remember leaving anything in the car for him to eat. When I asked him what he had in his mouth, he just smiled and his teeth were a bright blue. I quickly realized that since his medication was bright blue, he must have somehow gotten a hold of his medication…which unknowingly fell out of my purse after securing him into the car. I didn’t know what to do since we were at least 40 minutes away from our local hospital, so I called my daughter who’s a nurse. My daughter told me to call the IL Poison Center immediately, which I did. Amy, in the IPC call center, was so calm and reassuring and immediately gave me the information I needed, what to look for and guided me through it. Matt, from the IPC call center, followed up with me the next day to check on my husband. I had no idea they would go to such extremes to help me (and would even work with the hospital staff while my husband was in the Emergency Room). I’m so happy they were there to help and can't thank them enough.“


Joan Oliver, former Northwest Herald Asst. News Editor (click here for full article):

"...I had accidentally taken Tony’s medications! Now what?  I immediately thought about Illinois Poison Control. Then I tried to talk myself out of it. Surely I would be fine. After a few minutes of internal debate, I went to do an internet search about the medications I had just accidentally ingested. They didn’t come up, but another of Tony’s drugs did, along with a box containing Illinois Poison Control’s phone number. The magic words for me were “Don’t guess, know for sure.” So I grabbed my phone, swallowed my pride and made the call. I explained to the nice woman [Connie] what had happened. She assured me that this sort of thing happens far more than most people would think and that I was going to be OK. She looked at how Tony’s medications would interact with mine, and checked on that new drug I was so worried about starting later in the day. She even took my phone number so that she could call me a few hours later to make sure I was all right, which she did. Stressed-out caregivers might want to write this number down and store it in a cellphone: 1-800-222-1222."


Julie Corben, RN-Emergency Response Coordinator:

"I just loved the "My Child Ate...! Honorable Mentions" [blog]…most of those could’ve been for MY kids—before I became a nurse 25 yrs ago!  In fact, my youngest daughter called me last week to ask about the IPC because her son (2 ½ years old) tried to eat her O’Keefe’s Working Hands Cream from the green screw top jar.  My guess is that he had some piece of food in his hand and used it as a dip…he likes to dip finger foods! I told her to call the IPC and gave her the number….like mother like son! Hopefully HERS won’t be as bad about ingesting things as MINE were."  


Stephanie, Preschool Director at Willowbrook High School: 
"In the past, I wanted my students to take the IL Poison Control Online training. For some reason, I thought that the age to enroll in that online training was 18. I recently found out that the students could be at least 13 years of age. Many of my students babysit, nanny and work in different types of child care positions. I felt that as a teacher and a parent, that the training would be beneficial for the students. The students can add their training to their Professional Development Records for Gateways.  As a parent, I called the Poison Control hotline three times in the first three years of my daughters' lives.  Each semester, I will have between 25 and 50 students enroll and complete the online trainings. It is a beneficial addition to our Early Childhood and Care program." 


Dr. Kate, M.D. and Parent:

"Before I was in medical school, a friend introduced me to the IPC Blog post from 2010 “A Day In The Life”. Browsing the website I came across the “My Child Ate” series. Now as a physician and a parent, that series has saved myself and my spouse, my child, my patients, my friends, and my friends’ children so much grief and unnecessary ER and doctor visits (the IPC website has such excellent info that it has saved me from needing to call the IPC personally). It’s great as a healthcare provider to get asked “Help! My kid ate poop/lotion/lip balm! Do I take them to the ER?” and have a reliable, clear guide from a reputable, expert source to share with them to help make that decision."


Jennifer, RN:

"I spoke with Connie earlier today about an overdose patient and told her how much I enjoyed listening to the [Radiolab] podcast they had done on you guys! Our ER pharmacist thought it would be interesting for our ER community to listen to and had posted the link on our ER Facebook page. As an ER nurse, I have used the poison center numerous times in the 8 years I've been at MacNeal, and very thankful you and your team continue to serve the medical and civil community. We couldn't continue to give excellent care and have better outcomes without help from the poison team! From the bottom of our hearts at MacNeal's ER we thank you and your team for always being there for us! You guys Rock and deserve to hear it!  Thanks again! We look forward to speaking with the team when its necessary."


Lynda Baker, Daycare Provider:

"I LOVE your site and I print out information for my [daycare] centers and also post information on our office board.  I had my own home base daycare for over 20 years and I never knew this information was available.    We sponsor over 1,500  [daycare] homes and 87 centers and I think is so important that caregivers and parents are informed.  Thank you for doing what you do." 


Margaret O'Connor, Pharmacy Student:

"I am a second year pharmacy student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I was able to take the online Poison Prevention Education Course last year and the educational materials that the center sent me after completion were great!  Our APhA-ASP chapter held a workshop day for local girl scout troups, and the IPC charts were very helpful in educating the girls on common mistaken over the counter medications and how they can be safety tips re: family members medications in the home."

Emily Opiola, RN:

"As an ER nurse, I highly value this resource. I try to teach the community to use it before coming in to avoid unnecessary visits whenever possible. I also love detailed information received from the poison center for my overdose patients! Thank you for helping us all!"


Anna Moran, IL Resident:

"Let’s see......16 years ago, the oldest ate a bunch of mini Avon lipstick samples; 9 years ago, second child climbed a closet to eat the bottle of chewable vitamins; and 5 years ago, youngest got a hold of mouse attractant. Each time I had to call [the IPC}, the person was extremely nice and helped tremendously. The oldest was fine (and still is!), second went to ER, but was fine, and the youngest was ok too! We couldn’t have made it through those younger years without you!!! Thanks!!!!" 


Dina, IL Child Passenger Safety Technician:

"I took the IPC's online training class through Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital.  At each child safety seat appointment, I was able to explain all the items in the [safety gift] bag and especially promote the Poison Help magnet.  Awesome safety information given to parents/grandparents/caregivers.  Thank you for your great work with the Poison Helpline."


Hilda, IL Resident:

"I have 5 children and used it several times. The IPC Staff always put me at ease. They were kind, very informative and reassuring. They even called back to make sure everything was fine. Amazing!"


Peter, EMT:

"We had someone move into our town from another country, and she didn't speak English. We happened to have one copy of the Poisonous Plants poster in Spanish, her native language, and it seemed to be a great help because the plants here are totally different than the plants of her home country, and she loves to work in the garden. Having all that information about the plants that may be in our area, written in her first language, helped overcome a language barrier AND helped her learn about some plants she would never have encountered in her home country. Having information about poisons available in another language might not seem like a big deal, especially to folks who are in urban areas and accustomed to having non-English speakers around, or for folks who have easy access to friends or family who can translate, but in a small downstate community with no other fluent Spanish speakers (and plants everywhere!) having this information in Spanish made it very accessible. In English the poster would have been a lot of work for her to absorb. We never expected the poster to be used this way, but it was very well received!"


Kim Rabe, DCFS Licensed Daycare Operator/Owner:

"Last spring, I ordered educational supplies about poisons so I could share them with my daycare children. I had intended to share them during the spring break but we had to attend extra days of school due to closing during the flood. So, today, I finally got to share the materials and go over the posters and such with my daycare children. It's hard to find things that appeal to all age groups (such as in a home daycare) and get a strong and important message across. I look forward to continuing to provide this information to my daycare children. THANK YOU for providing the materials and supplies to me and THANK YOU for giving me another opportunity to teach my daycare children something valuable."


Dr. Amaal Tokars:

"As a public health professional, I wanted to learn what poison control prevention information we could offer our community through our website. Although, I have accessed poison control data and information on several occasions, I had seldom called staff at the poison center. I am most impressed with the knowledge, follow-through, and the patient approach of these specialized professionals. I spoke with three different individuals and found the authentic caring and deep commitment to their work notable. This organization is a critical treasure to each community across our nation."


Mickie Brunner, PharmD:

“I have been a poison educator since 2005 and always told people to put the number in their phone.  Also, I always said to put the magnet in a specific place on the refrigerator since they don’t move!  Thank goodness I followed my own advice. On Christmas Eve with a 8 month old and a 3 year old who swallowed button batteries - I completely  blanked on the number which I could always recite without looking!  I called the IPC and got needed advice. I always knew you do follow up calls but I was very impressed when I got a follow up call on Christmas Day.  After that day, I've always told  my story and used it as an example to emphasize that you are always there - no matter what time or day. I love the "moral of the story" handout - it shows it can happen to anyone.   I also include the poison control number stickers and magnets in all baby shower or new baby gifts." ​  


Ramona Butler, Joliet Junior College Nursing Student:

"I was glad that the online poison control information & quiz was a requirement for my nursing program. I learned information about poison control that I will be able to use in my job as a future nurse, to help others in my community and to aid in poison prevention for my own children & family."


David, EMT:

"I have been an EMT for almost 15 years. It has been an exciting journey.   IPC has always been there to answer not only my questions but my patients questions. They have given great medical direction for the ER docs I have worked with and do a great job of following up. The information they can send you to give out is another great tool for all. It is great for a handout during a CPR class." 


Robyn, Cook County resident:

"I use the education materials almost weekly working at a learning care center. I am always sharing magnets, stickers, posters, hand-outs, safe plants to have list, and many other materials the IPC has available for free with my parents. I want to say that I have saved hundreds of lives just educating parents on what is safe and what is not using these materials! Thanks IPC!!!!"


Lisa Kohoutek, Pharm.D., BCPS:

"IPC was my most favorite rotation of pharmacy school, and I felt so lucky to be there. Tony (my preceptor) and the rest of the staff were extremely knowledgeable and amazing at their jobs. It was such a treat to be learning alongside them. It makes me very sad to think about how undervalued of a resource the IPC is and how funding is always such an issue. I still encourage people to call with any relevant questions they might have at any chance I get, and I certainly will never forget the number. While it may sometimes seem like a thankless job, you are all doing such important work."


Julia Nutley RN, BSN, CRRN:

"Parents within my school community are always looking for easy, evidence-based information online. Please continue to offer online educational tools that can be accessed 24hrs a day. The information available on your website is wonderful and I include links in my email communications often!!  Thank you for being such a priceless resource! As a school nurse and a mom, I feel more confident knowing my assessment can be bolstered by info from IPC!"


Lyn, IL Resident:

"I needed to seal openings around a heating pipe in the bathroom of my apartment so I used Fire Block Sealant. I took all precautions: read the instructions, wore protective gloves and mask, etc.  Unfortunately, the ladder I was standing on, while using the Fire Block, wobbled and the Fire Block Sealant splattered all over my arms. I was very concerned about the shiny, orange splotches on my arms.

For 45 minutes, I tried various recommended products to clean off the chemical (soap and water, Vaseline, rubbing alcohol) but nothing seemed to work. I then realized that this might be a big deal. I didn’t know if it would penetrate my skin. I was ready to head to the ER but then remembered learning about the IL Poison Center when I was a babysitter, which I did a lot, but luckily never had to call. So, I looked up the 800 number for poison control.
Amy, from the Illinois Poison Control, quickly answered my call. She was quite helpful. She said the product could be very toxic but that didn’t mean it was going to hurt me. She told me exactly what to do and it worked. She was such a calming force and I didn’t have to go to the ER! I immediately felt better after speaking to Amy.
I would highly recommend to everyone to save the 1.800.222.1222 helpline to their phones. Accidents happen. If unsure if something can be harmful, just call! The ER can be very costly and time consuming. I think most people only think of the IPC when a child is involved in a toxic situation but as adults, we come in contact with so many potentially toxic substances all the time."


Mary Jacobson, IL Resident:

"Returning from vacation, because my pills were in a different box from the dated box I usually use, I accidentally took an additional dose of my cardiac medication in the morning.  I take a lot of medication, especially in the morning, and have trouble keeping it all straight since much of it looks alike.  

I had the IPC helpline # posted in my kitchen. I called because I didn’t know if the extra medication would do something to me.  It was late at night. A young man came on the line and said he was there to help me and he sure did.  He wanted to look something up and said he’d call me back… and he sure did in 5 min!  When he called me back, he told me what I needed to know and that I should be fine and to call if I had any further questions or concerns.  It was a very soothing and reassuring phone call.  He saved my life because I really didn’t know what to do.   I had called the IPC once before with a question but never for an emergency.
If not for the IPC helpline, I would have had to awaken my husband and probably would have gone to the ER.
He (Tony) should get a raise.  I don’t have enough money to pay Tony for what he did for me that night.  He relieved my worries and I went to sleep knowing I was going to be ok."
Maureen Murphy RN, MS, MBA-School Nurse:
"I’ve called 3 times in last couple of weeks after asking…“You did what?”:
The first time I called, I felt a little intimidated (and I’m not usually or easily intimidated) but Tony (IPC call center staff) was so nice and kind, I knew I was in the right spot/place.  I called about:
1.       Disposable ice pack (the kind you whack to start the cold process) that a curious 5th grader broke open and drank a portion of it.
2.       Shaving cream in the eyes and mouth as a result of a pie throwing event and afterwards while playing around with the others and the shaving cream.
3.       Bleach in the eyes and skin as a result of the children using a spray bottle with a bleach solution to clean a room.  The spray nozzle was faced towards them instead of in the direction of the table and accidentally sprayed themselves in the face.
Tony took 2 of the calls and even called me back after one of the calls.  He called right on the hour he said he’d call me to check on the child (right before I was about to call him back) .  
In my first career, I trained some of the branch people on our World Class Customer Service initiative, so I recognize and appreciate good customer service when I receive it.  There’s nothing like this type of service anymore…anywhere! The IPC has proved itself to me and I won’t hesitate to call again."


Chicago Resident: 
 “I was looking for a spray bottle to use to spray water on the blouses I was ironing.  The only spray bottle I could find was the Windex bottle so I poured the Windex solution (clear liquid) into a glass and filled the Windex bottle with water.  While ironing and listening to a video, I reached for the glass and took a drink, momentarily forgetting that the glass had Windex solution in it.

It was late at night and everyone was sleeping.  I was new to Chicago and didn’t know what to do, so I called my friend living in Virginia (state) for advice.  She first recommended I go to the ER but I didn’t want to go.  She then called the 1.800.222.1222 Poison Center national helpline and reached the Virginia Poison Center who then called the IL Poison Center and finally transferred my friend to the IL Poison Center.  Matt took the call (from the IPC) and asked my friend if he could call me directly, which he did.  It felt like a neighbor coming to help.  I was feeling alone in the world, but had the feeling I would be ok because someone like Matt was on the phone; so responsive and responsible.  Thank you so much for all that you (IPC) are doing. “ 

Holly Stolp, R.N.:
"The IPC has always provided us with training tools and samples to better the knowledge of our patients. Having a large pediatric practice, we feel this is the best place to start with prevention. Thank you so much for all you do! My only suggestion is we need this information in French as we have a large population of French speaking parents."
Sarah Hamricks, R.N.:
"Matt, from the IPC call center, answered the call and was very calming, reassuring and thorough. He calmed me down and made sure that I didn’t feel like a horrible mom.   After a thorough review of what had happened and what to do next, Matt told me to call back later that day, and ask specifically for him, to let him know how my daughter was (who might have ingested another child's medication).  It was a wonderful, expedient experience. 
A short time after the call, I found the missing pill on the floor, moist but completely intact.  I called Matt to let him know. To make sure the medication, even a lick of the outside, wouldn’t be harmful, he once again thoroughly reviewed the protocol for such an ingestion. 
I recommend to everyone to please keep the 1-800-222-1222 IPC helpline phone number close at hand, post everywhere and save in your phone(s).  You never know when you'll need it.  Luckily, we were able to handle the situation in under 10 minutes, over the phone, and I didn’t have to take my daughter to the ER.  I was able to get her the help she needed quickly by calling the IPC.  I’ve had the IPC info posted around my house for years and never needed it till now (I had called IPC for our hospital/ED patients).  I was so very glad I had it when I needed it!"
Nila Sturlin, IL Resident:
"Thanks for providing free and discounted education materials to IPC volunteer community outreach educators. I recently held a children's medication safety and Illinois Poison Prevention Month (IPPM) event. The event was hosted by OBrien's Pharmacy, a small town community pharmacy in Belvidere, Illinois. I utilized IPC posters, promotional materials, activity packets, and computer games. Thanks again for the materials."
Lynette Waller, IL Resident:
"I really appreciate all the resources you have to help us provide the community with education. Helping us to reinforce the availability of products that children can access without difficulties and ensuring awareness of the seriousness of those potentials cannot be reiterated enough!   Providing clients with the Poison Control number on a sticker or magnet has given us an easy way to stress importance of contacting you (IPC) in case of emergencies.
The seasonal information has been helpful, and I have shared some of the My Child Ate… and other Poison Prevention materials at presentations I have given to parents and child care workers." 

Wayne Bradford, IL Resident:

 "I accidentally took my diabetes medicine, Janumet and heart medicine, Coreg, twice within a 4 hour period. I called the nurse on call and she referred me to Mike at IPC. Mike helped me calm down and monitor my blood pressure and blood sugar. He had me call him back at midnight to update him on my situation. Mike was a God send."


Alena Erath, RN:

 "I just wanted to let you know I'm an emergency room nurse for 13 years, and have been representing my facility, Centegra Hospital, by teaching first and second graders the importance of poison prevention in the home. I have been doing this for three years with my fellow nurses - doing a presentation about poison in the home, safety, and teaching. I also do a puppet show at the end. As an emergency room nurse your program is beneficial to the emergency room and the community. Please let me know what I can do to help save the Poison Center."  


Deborah V., RN, BSN:

"I'm very thankful to have the IPC helpline as a resource. I work with students who have special needs and it has come in handy.  The Illinois Poison Center is not only a great resource, it provides an opportunity to educate people.  Having that knowledge can never be taken away and in many cases, the information is life saving!"


Amanda, IL Resident:

 "I am very thankful for the Poison Center Service in Illinois especially when any of my children ingest something. Because of the service, I am able to call without having to use my local Emergency Room.  Today I was surprised to be placed on hold and to learn the reason why…funding cuts.  I have 4 children under the age of 8.  If not for the Illinois Poison Center, I probably would have called an ambulance which would have been very stressful.  After the follow-up call from the IPC and after learning more about the funding crisis,  immediately posted my experience and IPC’s funding issue on my Facebook.  Many of my friends were so surprised and outraged that the IPC could close (June 2014)."


Georgia L., IL Resident:

"My sister in Florida found my 20 month neice with a cleaning product in her hands and she vomited a few minutes later. I called the Illinois Poison Center. Immediate response was great and Reggie assured myself and my sister that there was no poison and it was only an irritant.  He then offered some (treatment) procedures to follow. After speaking to my sister and calming her down, I realize that my neice probably did not even swallow anything as it was a spray bottle and that she may just have put her mouth to it. Either way, crisis was averted and I was able to keep her from rushing to hospital and insisting on a stomach pump!"



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