One of the goals of the eAntidote is to introduce you to the real poison experts who answer the phone at the Maryland Poison Center. In addition to being nurses and pharmacists, they are parents, grandparents, artists, athletes, sports fans, and more! Watch the video above and read the Q&A below to get to know one specialist, Eric Schuetz.
How did you end up a poison specialist?
As a student at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy I had taken a class in clinical toxicology taught by one the directors of the poison center. To be honest, I didn’t really like it then. But after graduating and working as a pharmacist for a few years, I felt like I wasn’t using all of my skills and training from pharmacy school. At the same time, my family was growing. I was looking for a flexible part-time job so I could take care of my kids while my wife worked full-time. I responded to an ad in the Baltimore Sun for the poison specialist position, and now I’ve been here more than 26 years!
What do you enjoy most about your work?
At the end of the day, even if it’s been a hectic day, I feel very full and rewarded when I go home. I love that this work requires me to use all of my training, skills, and experience to help people. When I’m not quite sure about something, I have co-workers who are smart and helpful. Everyone here is kind of a nerd – a nerd about toxicology – but they also love other people.
Why are poison centers and poison specialists like you important?
People can be really stressed when they call us, but we take the time to calm them down and really find out what is going on. I’m proud that the Maryland Poison Center has a reputation of being thorough to help our callers and patients. That is not something that websites and apps can do for you!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I recently took up golfing, and I’m really enjoying that. I’m a Ravens season ticket holder, but I support both the Ravens and Orioles.