Recognizing pesticide poisoning

WAIMEA — Two training sessions for healthcare professionals on pesticide exposure are set for March 6 in Waimea.

The sessions were planned in response to community feedback the Environmental Protection Agency gathered while on Kauai.

The agency was on-island to investigate incidents like the January 2015 event, when 10 people were treated at a hospital after being exposed to the restricted-use pesticide chlorpyrifos.

“This isn’t so much specifically in response to the incident, but when we were there to look at that, it came out that it’d be great to have training,” said Dean Higuchi, Hawaii spokesman for the EPA. “The people we interacted with said there was a need.”

The training sessions, which will be held March 6 at the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waimea, will help healthcare workers recognize and treat pesticide poisonings.

The first class is at 9:30 a.m.; the second session begins at 1 p.m.

The classes will be conducted by the Migrant Clinicians Network, with co-sponsors Hawaii Department of Health, the Hawaii Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated, with funding from the EPA.

“Healthcare workers are on the front lines for recognizing pesticide poisoning. This training is an opportunity for Kauai healthcare providers to enhance their skills in recognizing and managing pesticide poisoning,” said Kauai District Health Officer Janet Berreman.

She continued: “I urge Kauai healthcare providers to take advantage of this training, and I thank the partner agencies responsible for bringing this resource to Kauai.”

The training uses accredited courses that will focus on key decision points in the diagnosis of pesticide exposures and will highlight the usefulness of the EPA publication, “Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisoning, 6th edition,” according to an EPA press release sent to TGI.

Copies will be provided to all participants.

Through interactive case studies, the training will illustrate effective recognition and treatment of patients who may have been exposed to pesticides, the EPA release said.

“Quick and accurate identification of pesticide poisoning is important to provide immediate patient care,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, in the release. “These workshops will provide healthcare workers with the tools they need in such critical situations.”

The training will also be offered on Oahu. Higuchi said the goal is to expand the program.

“Hopefully this is just the beginning. It’s good information for all clinicians to have,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have training sessions on Hawaii Island and Maui, too, at some point.”

The Kauai sessions will be at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, 4643 Waimea Canyon Drive, Waimea, Conference Room AB.

For more information and registration, contact Julie Sommers at 338-9474 or jsommers@hhsc.org, or Cheryl Tennberg at ctennberg@hhsc.org.

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