Principles of treatment

Successful treatment of acute poisoning depends on a combination of speed and common sense, as well as on the nature of the poison, the amount taken and the time which has since elapsed. The majority of those admitted to hospital require only observation and medical and nursing supportive measures

1 An extreme example is that of a young man who, over a period of 6 years, was admitted to hospital following 82 episodes of self-poisoning, 31 employing paracetamol; he had had a disturbed, unhappy upbringing and had been expelled from both the Danish Navy and the British Army. Prescott L F et al 1978 British Medical Journal 2:1399.

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