Author(s): Siwach SB, Gupta A
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Abstract A prospective study of 559 cases of acute poisoning who came to this hospital over a period of 14 months. 91.4\% cases were of self poisoning (suicidal), 8.1\% accidental and only 0.5\% homicidal. Majority of patients were young (mean age 27 years), males twice the number of females. Almost 3/4th of the total patients belonged to lower socio-economic group (rural more than urban). The common causative factors which led to self poisoning were marital disharmony, economic hardships and scolding/disagreement with other family members. Aluminium phosphide (ALP) was the most commonly abused substance followed by organophosphates and zinc phosphide in 67.8, 13.9 and 4.3\% cases respectively. The overall mortality rate in the series was 33.82\%, but true mortality rate in patients who consumed ALP was as high as 67.6\%. Most of these cases (94.9\%) were not given any preliminary treatment in the village primary health centre (PHC) nearest to the site of mishap and they were brought/referred to this hospital straight and thus most valuable time crucial for effective treatment was lost. Easy availability of a highly toxic substance like ALP at peak moments of frustration has added fuel to the fire and pushed up the incidence of self-poisoning. Suggested preventive measures include caging of tablets in plastic packs, stringent restrictions on free supply of ALP and education of medical/paramedical personnel involved in health care delivery at grass root level.
This article was published in J Assoc Physicians India
and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology