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: Angela Lam.
Why did you go into the field of pharmacy?
I was a biology research scientist and wanted to explore a field where I could interact with people more often. Pharmacy was a perfect fit. It combines my interests in science and improving the lives of others.
How did you end up working at the poison center?
I became interested in working at the poison center through my residency rotations and clinical practice in the critical care unit and emergency department. I cared for many patients with cases of unintentional and intentional poison exposures. After working on these cases and treating these patients, I became more interested in toxicology. As a toxicology fellow, I will be able to dive deeper into learning about best practices for treating poisoning and overdose patients.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I have the opportunity to save patients’ lives when they’re most vulnerable. It’s wonderful to collaborate, work as a team, learn something new, and help pave the way for the next generation.
Why are poison centers and poison specialists like you important?
Poison center specialists ask questions to learn more about each case. They use this information to provide treatment recommendations specific to that case and patient. Poison specialists also have the experience and resources to help both health care providers and the public manage exposures.
What’s an important message you want to share about poison safety?
A few important poison safety messages I’d like to share are:
- Keep your medications, vitamins, and supplements stored up, away, and out of sight from children, pets, and visitors.
- Just because a product is labeled as natural does not mean it is safer than other products. Natural products can still be used in the wrong way, in the wrong amount, or by the wrong person, possibly causing unwanted effects.
- Naloxone is a life-saving medicine used to reverse the effects of opioids. In Maryland, it is available at the pharmacy without a prescription.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, friends, and pets. I also enjoy playing music and watching a good movie.