The Illinois Poison Center is itself in need of revival. By June 30, the publicly- and privately-funded center could be closed because of a lack of money. “I think we are cautiously optimistic,” says the center's medical director, Dr. Michael Wahl. “We are gathering a lot of support. It really comes down to collaboration and whether all the people who are involved in these decisions agree that the Poison Center is important to keep open and what are the best methods to maintain the funding that's needed.”
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Wahl says the money to run the center comes from hospitals and from state and federal governments. He adds that with a large percentage of the center's calls coming from hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units, it's more than a resource for panicked parents who want to know whether they should induce vomiting in a child who has swallowed something.
Wahl says a possible source of funding could be a cell phone 911 surcharge which is still being levied, but whose earmarked projects are done or almost done.