When accidents happen with chemicals, medicine, or household items, call Poison Help. Get help right away from a local poison expert.
If someone is unconscious or has trouble breathing, call 911.
The Florida Poison Information Center – Miami is one of three poison centers that make up the Florida Poison Information Center Network. Working at the poison control center at the southeastern corner of the U.S. can seem a bit like working abroad. One poison specialist will be on the phone with a Spanish-speaking neurologist, and another will be soothing an abuelita whose grandchild has nibbled on a houseplant. One of the unique things about the poison center in Miami is that most of the poison specialists covering the phones are medical doctors trained overseas from countries such as the Dominican Republic and Cuba. This allows many callers to speak in their native language without needing to wait for an interpreter. It also means that our specialists know many of the cultures and traditions of our callers, helping them address concerns that might surprise people from out of town.
The Miami poison center also has particular expertise in aquatic and marine toxins (PDF - 584 KB), so if a caller has been stung by a lionfish or is frantic with swimmer’s itch, the poison center can help. The experience afforded by treating hundreds of cases a year allows the specialists to handle calls about ciguatera (a marine toxin disease that can result from eating contaminated reef fish), jellyfish, red tide, or stingray envenomation with authority and calm.
The Florida Poison Information Center - Miami is able to provide these valuable services with leadership from a cadre of experts in pharmacology, toxicology and disaster response. Director, Dr. Richard Weisman, is the Associate Dean of the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, one of the top medical research institutions in the U.S. Medical Director, Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein, is a board-certified medical toxicologist, emergency physician and clinical pharmacologist. He keeps his clinical skills honed by working in the pediatric and adult emergency rooms at Jackson Memorial Hospital, one of the nation’s busiest public hospitals. The poison center also serves as the home for all-hazard disaster response planning for the Jackson Health System and the South Florida region.
Each of the 56 poison centers in the country is unique and the Florida Poison Information Center – Miami is no exception. From the beaches of Naples to the nightclubs of South Beach, South Florida presents plenty of opportunity for the unwary to get poisoned. The bilingual staff of the Miami poison center is on the job, serving South Florida, and saving lives.