Poisoning exposures continue to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The lack of facilities, treatment resources, and antidotes in hospitals may affect the treatments provided and outcomes. This study aimed to determine the availability of gastrointestinal (GI) decontamination, stabilisation, elimination enhancement resources, and antidotes for the management of acute toxic exposures and poisonings in emergency departments (EDs) among various types of governmental and private hospitals in Palestine.
A cross-sectional study using semi-structured questionnaire was performed. Data were collected based on hospital resources; GI decontamination, stabilisation, elimination enhancement resources and antidotes from Palestinian hospitals.
Eighteen hospitals (94.7%) have responded. Among them, paracetamol poisoning was the most frequently reported cases by EDs (mean frequency score = 7.6 +/- 2.1), followed by bee stings (mean = 6.9 +/- 2.7) and organophosphate poisoning (mean = 6.7 +/- 2.7). The availabilities of most resources related to GI decontamination items varied substantially with hospital type, but these differences were not statistical significant. The availability of stabilisation resources was not significantly different between hospitals types. For the availability of techniques used to enhance the elimination of toxic substances, there were variations between the hospitals types. However, these differences were not statistical significant, except for haemodialysis (p = 0.003) which was more available in governmental hospitals. For the availability of antidotes, none of the hospitals had sufficient stock of all antidotes listed. In relation to hospital type, there was variability in the availability of antidotes, but this did not reach statistical significance, except for deferoxamine (p < 0.001), which was available in all governmental hospitals but none of the private hospitals.
The availability of treatment resources and antidotes in Palestinian hospitals was not adequate except for stabilisation resources. The availability of such resources acts as a marker for the level of readiness of hospital EDs in Palestine for the management of acute toxic exposure and poisoning. The implementation of a minimum list of antidotes and treatment resources would be useful to increase the level of resources. Coordination between Palestinian poison control and drug information centre and hospitals is also important.