One of the goals of our eAntidote blog is to introduce you to the real poison experts who answer the phones at the Maryland Poison Center (MPC), as well as our staff members. In addition to being nurses and pharmacists, they are parents, grandparents, artists, athletes, sports fans, and more! Read the Q&A below to get to know our toxicology fellow: Faisal Minhaj.
Why did you go into the field of pharmacy?
In school, I enjoyed chemistry, math, and physics. Since those classes piqued my interest, I participated in an explorer’s program in high school, which allowed me to visit and shadow professionals in different pharmacy settings. I instantly fell in love with the pharmacy field. I also enjoy helping people, so I wanted to go into a career field where I could do that daily.
How did you end up working at the poison center?
During pharmacy school, I had a rotation at the local poison center in Upstate New York. I truly enjoyed my experience there, and realized that I wanted to practice in this setting. I also completed a residency in emergency medicine, where I got to see and manage poisoning cases firsthand. Between my rotation at the poison center and bedside experience, I knew I wanted to work in a poison center.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy the daily discussions and case conferences with the other specialists and experts. It’s always interesting to learn what new and complex cases are out there. I also enjoy doing research; it is such an important part of determining which treatment option might work best for our patients.
Why are poison centers and poison specialists like you important?
General health care professionals don’t come across poisonings very often in their work. We are able to offer them our expert advice and discuss the cases together to determine the best treatment for our patients. We also help to ensure the hospital’s resources are utilized effectively by keeping certain patients out of hospitals when they don’t need to be there.
What’s an important message you want to share about poison safety?
Keep all medicines in their original labeled containers. Do not mix medicines together in a different container. Poisonings can happen to anyone, so know the poison center is here to help. I learned that the hard way by looking down a tube of superglue and getting it in my eye.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I love playing different sports and hiking. I also enjoy trying new restaurants and continuing to discover all that Maryland has to offer.