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Guide to the Duke Poison Control Center Records, 1951-1987 (MC.0044)

Abstract

Contains materials pertaining to the clinical and educational activities of the Poison Control Center at Duke University, established in 1954 and headed by Jay Arena and later Shirley K. Osterhout. The Poison Control Center provided information to individuals and businesses about the product safety and chronic and acute management of poisoning through referrals, correspondence, and educational speakers. Types of materials include correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, memoranda, articles, patient summaries, tests, discussion notes, informational materials relating to poisons and drug interactions, phone logs, pamphlets, brochures, budgets, and copies of newspaper clippings. Major subjects include the Duke University Medical Center, Poison Control Centers, poisoning in children, accidental poisoning, prevention and treatment of poisoning, Jay Arena, and Shirley K. Osterhout. Materials range in date from 1951 to 1987.

Descriptive Summary

Call Number
MC.0044
Title
Duke Poison Control Center Records
Date
1951-1987
Creator
Duke Poison Control Center.
Extent
8 Linear Feet (6 cartons and 1 manuscript box) and 1 oversized folder
Repository
Duke University Medical Center Archives

Collection Overview

Contains materials pertaining to the clinical and educational activities of the Poison Control Center at Duke University. Types of materials include correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, memoranda, articles, patient summaries, tests, discussion notes, informational materials relating to poisons and drug interactions, phone logs, and copies of newspaper clippings. Materials range in date from1951 to 1987.

Arrangement Note

Organized into the following series: Correspondence, 1965-1987; Case Reports and Admissions to Duke Hospital, 1953-1985; Patient Phone Contact Logs, 1987; Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee, 1980-1983; Short Writings and Clippings, 1974-1987; Jay Arena Materials, 1951-1976; Oversized Items, undated.

Restrictions on Access & Use

Some collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval.

Access Restrictions

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals or IRB approval may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which Duke University assumes no responsibility.

Collection must be screened for sensitive or confidential materials before being accessed. For further information consult with the Medical Center Archivist.

Use Restrictions

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence, 1965-1987

Series Scope and Contents: Contains correspondence between physicians, patients, the general public, and the Duke Poison Control Center. Materials are divided into Cases, General, Other, Pediatrics, Products, and Plants. The Cases files include correspondence requesting information and referrals and follow-ups with other physicians. The General and Other files contain reports, clippings, reviews of literature, correspondence regarding programs and professional societies, and some meeting minutes from the Department of Pediatrics. The Pediatrics records contain Duke Hospital patient discharge summary records and correspondence with physicians (see also Case Reports and Admissions). The Products records contain correspondence with retailers, manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and government entities (primarily the Food and Drug Administration). Materials are arranged chronologically and range in date from 1965 to 1987.

Access Restrictions: Series must be screened for sensitive or confidential materials before being accessed. For further information consult with the Medical Center Archivist.

Correspondence, June-July 1965
Box 1
Correspondence, August-December 1965
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 1, January-June 1966
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 2, January-June 1966
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 1, July-December 1966
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 2, July-December 1966
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 1, 1967
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 2, 1967
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 3, 1967
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 1, January 1968
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 2, January 1968
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 1, June 1968-1969
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 2, June 1968-1969
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 1, May-August 1969
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 2, May-August 1969
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 1, September 1969-March 1970
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 2, September 1969-March 1970
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 1, March-August 1970
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 2, March-August 1970
Box 1
Correspondence, September 1970-March 1971
Box 1
Correspondence, folder 1, March-August 1971
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 2, March-August 1971
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 1, August-December 1971
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 2, August-December 1971
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 1, January-March 1972
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 2, January-March 1972
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 1, June-September 1972
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 2, June-September 1972
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 1, October-December 1972
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 2, October-December 1972
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 1, December 1972-April 1973
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 2, December 1972-April 1973
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 1, March-June 1973
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 2, March-June 1973
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 1, July-August 1973
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 2, July-August 1973
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 1, August-November 1973
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 2, August-November 1973
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 1, November 1973-March 1974
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 2, November 1973-March 1974
Box 2
Correspondence, folder 1, March-June 1974
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 2, March-June 1974
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 1, June-November 1974
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 2, June-November 1974
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 1, November 1974-January 1975
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 2, November 1974-January 1975
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 1, February-April 1975
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 2, February-April 1975
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 1, April-June 1975
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 2, April-June 1975
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 1, July-September 1975
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 2, July-September 1975
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 1, October 1975-January 1976
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 2, October 1975-January 1976
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 1, February-May 1976
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 2, February-May 1976
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 1, May-August 1976
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 2, May-August 1976
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 1, August-November 1976
Box 3
Correspondence, folder 2, August-November 1976
Box 3
Correspondence, November 1976-January 1977
Box 3
Correspondence, November 1976-January 1977
Box 4
Correspondence, February-March 1977
Box 4
Correspondence, April 1977
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 1, June-September 1977
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 2, June-September 1977
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 1, September-December 1977
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 2, September-December 1977
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 1, January-June 1978
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 2, January-June 1978
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 1, March-July 1978
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 2, March-July 1978
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 1, July-August 1978
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 2, July-August 1978
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 1, September-December 1978
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 2, September-December 1978
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 3, September-December 1978
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 4, September-December 1978
Box 4
Correspondence, January-March 1979
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 1, March-May 1979
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 2, March-May 1979
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 1, April-July 1979
Box 4
Correspondence, folder 2, April-July 1979
Box 4
Correspondence, March-September 1979
Box 5
Correspondence, folder 1, September 1979-January 1980
Box 5
Correspondence, folder 2, September 1979-January 1980
Box 5
Correspondence, folder 1, May-August 1981
Box 5
Correspondence, folder 2, May-August 1981
Box 5
Correspondence, folder 1, September-December 1981
Box 5
Correspondence, folder 2, September-December 1981
Box 5
Correspondence, 1983-1984
Box 5
Correspondence, January-June 1987
Box 5
Correspondence, July 1987
Box 5
Correspondence, August 1987
Box 5
Correspondence, folder 1, September 1987
Box 5
Correspondence, folder 2, September 1987
Box 5
Correspondence, folder 1, October 1987
Box 5
Correspondence, folder 2, October 1987
Box 5
Correspondence, November-December 1987
Box 5

2. Case Reports and Admissions to Duke Hospital, 1953-1985

Series Scope and Contents: Contains Duke Hospital patient discharge summary records for individuals who experienced poisoning and sought treatment at the Duke University Medical Center between 1953 and 1979. Included in the discharge summaries are the chief complaint that caused hospitalization, symptoms, past history, physical examination, clinical findings, course of treatment, diagnosis, and patient's disposition. Summaries also provide commentary on surrounding social circumstances. The summaries are organized chronologically and then grouped alphabetically by type of poison. Types of materials include correspondence, discharge reports, and notes. Materials range in date from 1953 to 1985.

Access Restrictions: Series must be screened for sensitive or confidential materials before being accessed. For further information consult with the Medical Center Archivist.

Case reports, folder 1, 1953-1965
Box 5
Case reports, folder 2, 1953-1965
Box 5

Admissions, 1967-1979

A, 1967-1979
Box 5
B - C, 1967-1979
Box 5
D - J, 1967-1979
Box 5
K - N, 1967-1979
Box 5
O - Pills, 1967-1979
Box 6
Pl - Z, folder 1, 1967-1979
Box 6
Pl - Z, folder 2, 1967-1979
Box 6
Medical Admit Notebook, 1974-1984
Box 6
Admissions, circa 1981-1985
Box 6

3. Patient Phone Contact Logs, 1987

Series Scope and Contents: Contains internal forms used to track requests for information and phone calls to the Duke Poison Control Center. The forms include general information about the patient and poison, but now include an area to record the type of container, whether it was closed or open, and what kind of cautionary label was present. Materials date to 1987.

Access Restrictions: Series must be screened for sensitive or confidential materials before being accessed. For further information consult with the Medical Center Archivist.

Patient Phone Contact Logs, July-October 1987
Box 6
Patient Phone Contact Logs, folder 1, March-August 1987
Box 6
Patient Phone Contact Logs, folder 2, March-August 1987
Box 6

4. Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee, 1980-1983

Series Scope and Contents: Shirley K. Osterhout worked as a consultant to the Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee of the Bureau of Drugs of the Food and Drug Administration. The Committee was charged with reviewing the safety and effectiveness of prescription drugs. Osterhout served as a liaison between the consumer and medical community, representing the consumer's concerns in matters of gastrointestinal diseases. Types of materials in this series include correspondence, minutes, reports, and memoranda. Materials range in date from 1980 to 1983.

Access Restrictions: Series must be screened for sensitive or confidential materials before being accessed. For further information consult with the Medical Center Archivist.

Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee, 1980-1981
Box 6
Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee, 1981-1982
Box 6
Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee, 1983
Box 6

5. Short Writings and Clippings, 1974-1987

Series Scope and Contents: Contains articles, patient summaries, tests, discussion notes, informational materials relating to poisons and drug interactions, reports, and copies of newspaper clippings. Materials range in date from 1974 to 1987.

Access Restrictions: Series must be screened for sensitive or confidential materials before being accessed. For further information consult with the Medical Center Archivist.

Phenol and boric acid, research materials and short writings, 1974-1975
Box 6
Antidotes, circa 1987
Box 6
Quarterly report, 1980
Box 6
Clippings, 1975-1978
Box 6

6. Jay Arena Materials, 1951-1976

Series Scope and Contents: Contains materials, created by Duke Poison Control Center's first director, Jay Arena, toxicologist and pediatrician. Also includes research materials and correspondence concerning the development of the first child safety cap. Types of materials include correspondence, short writings, histories, brochures, pamphlets, posters, statistics, and reports. Materials range in date from 1951 to 1976.

Access Restrictions: Series must be screened for sensitive or confidential materials before being accessed. For further information consult with the Medical Center Archivist.

Jay Arena Writings: A Survey of Safety Closures..., undated
Box 6
Jay Arena Writings: Safety Closure Caps, undated
Box 6
Jay Arena Writings: American Children - Their Heritage of Health, undated
Box 6
Jay Arena Writings: Drug Dangers to the Fetus..., undated
Box 6
Jay Arena Writings: The Coroner's Role..., undated
Box 6
Jay Arena Writings: Poisoning in Childhood..., undated
Box 6
Jay Arena Writings: Report from the Duke..., undated
Box 6
Safety Closure Caps Correspondence, 1967
Box 6
Safety Closure Caps Correspondence, 1960-1966
Box 6
Safety Closure Cap Correspondence, 1959
Box 6
Safety Closure Cap Correspondence, 1957-1958
Box 6
Correspondence, 1965
Box 6
Correspondence, 1966
Box 6
Correspondence, 1967-1968
Box 6
Departmental History, 1961
Box 6
General Instructions for Use of the Center, undated
Box 6
Yearly Statistics, 1962-1976
Box 6
Annual Report, November 1961-October 1962
Box 6
Annual Report, 1976
Box 6
National Poison Prevention Week, 1964
Box 6
National Poison Prevention Week Borchures and Posters, 1965-1966
Box 6
National Poison Prevention Week General Materials, 1965-1966
Box 6
National Poison Prevention Week General Materials, 1965-1966
Box 6
National Poison Prevention Week Pamphlets and Posters, 1969
Box 6
National Poison Prevention Week General Materials, 1969
Box 6
White House Conference on Children and Youth, 1958-1960
Box 6
Symposium on Poisoning, 1964
Box 7
Symposium on Poisoning, 1966
Box 7
Television and Radio Programs, 1951-1960
Box 7
Research Files: Kerosene Poisoning, undated
Box 7
Research Files: Kerosene Poisoning, undated
Box 7
Clippings, Miscellaneous Materis, and General Resources, 1962-1968
Box 7

7. Oversized Items, undated

Poster: Is There a Killer in Your Medicine Chest?, undated
Box OS 1

Historical Note

Organized in 1954, The Duke Poison Control Center was the second poison control center in the United States. Jay Arena (MD, Duke, 1932) headed the center from 1954 to 1959 and Shirley K. Osterhout (AB, Duke, 1953 and MD, Duke, 1957) was the first clinical doctor. Arena stepped down as the director in 1959 and Osterhout became the new director. Following his departure from the poison control center, Arena, a pediatrician, continued to be active as a national speaker and writer on poison control topics.

Arena is credited with beginning the first poison control movement in the country. In addition to founding the Poison Control Center, he was a preeminent physician in the field of toxicology and developer of the childproof safety cap. His interest in poison prevention derived in part from the influence of Dr. Wilburt C. Davison, the first dean of Duke School of Medicine. During the 1930s, the two men treated children suffering from the caustic effects of lye poisoning, common at that time. They started keeping a reference file on other types of poisoning. The reference file eventually led to an inventory of treatments for poisoning and helped develop more than 600 poison control centers across the United States. In the 1950s, Arena led the push for drug companies to develop the childproof safety cap for medicine bottles. Many companies were not interested in changing their product for fear of low sales or acquiring the reputation of not producing a safe drug. Arena persisted, with support from Duke University, and convinced a number of drug companies to begin using childproof safety caps.

Shirley K. Osterhout, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Duke University School of Medicine, taught courses about poisoning and supervised pediatric students at work in the center. Osterhout was especially concerned with packaging, product commercials, and labeling information, often directing companies to correct labels that provided misinformed antidotes. During her tenure, she testified before the Consumer Products Safety Committee and rallied against many large manufacturers to change packaging from attractive, food-like containers to those that are clearly not similar to food containers. Osterhout was a member of a variety of pediatric health associations.

The Center was originally located in a space near Duke Hospital's emergency room, which also contained a reference library and treatment room. The purpose of the center was to provide information to individuals about the chronic and acute management of poisoning. Staff also made referrals, answered letters about product safety, and provided speakers for educational purposes. The center provided information primarily to physicians directly, but later outreach efforts brought in calls from non-physicians, especially parents. National Poison Prevention Week activities, including a publicity and outreach fair complete with posters, stickers, brochures, and comic depictions of children and poisons, were opportunities for the Duke Poison Control Center to reach the community it served.

A grant from the North Carolina Department of Human Resources and the Duke University Department of Pediatrics funded the center. The center functioned as state central poison control and wrote guidelines for various government departments on the safety of chemicals. Staff from the center also provided a permanent display at health fairs and conferences, sent out fliers, and taught poison awareness and prevention courses. In the 1970s, when the Durham, North Carolna, area was more agriculturally active, the center received many calls about agricultural poisonings with an average of 200 calls per month. In 1977, the center handled 1,195 cases involving household, farm, commercial, and industrial products (the most common cause of accidental poisonings). Farmers were frequently poisoned with insecticides and weed killers. The second most common poisonings occurred during household chores, primarily when bleach was mixed with another cleaning agent. The Duke Poison Control Center ceased operation around 1997. Toxicology studies continued through Duke University's Toxicology Program. The statewide poison control center is now located in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Duke Poison Control Center Records, Duke University Medical Center Archives.

Provenance

Transfer; circa 1988

Processing Information

Processed by Archives staff and Emily Glenn: July 2003

Separated Material

Three oversized posters are housed in the Oversized Materials Collection.

Related Material

  • Mark C. Rogers Papers
  • Robert L. Blake Papers
  • Jay M. Arena Oral History Interviews
  • Jay M. Arena Papers
  • Shirley K. Osterhout Oral History Interviews
  • Shirley K. Osterhout Papers