The short course in toxinology: Training the trainers

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Abstract

Clinical toxinology is the medical discipline dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of toxin diseases caused by exposure to venomous animals and poisonous animals, plants and mushrooms. Currently there is no national or international organisation accrediting or training doctors in this discipline. A few courses covering some aspects of clinical toxinology exist, either with limited curricula, or with only a minor clinical focus, or with a very regional, non-global focus. The only comprehensive clinical toxinology course is the one provided in Adelaide, Australia, running regularly since 1997. Hundreds of doctors from many nations have attended the course since 1997. This course covers venomous animals, poisonous animals, plants and mushrooms, from a full global perspective, with an international faculty and an exit exam. Though lasting only one week, extensive pre-reading material is mandated. The current Course Handbook is about 500 pages. Emphasis is on clinically relevant information and is focused on the needs of doctors treating cases. While it is expected that attendees will have, or acquire, direct experience managing cases of toxin disease and will use the knowledge and skills gained in the course in direct patient care, they may also act as resource people in their home region/nation to promote increased skills in clinical toxinology amongst the wider medical workforce. This course may form the nucleus from which IST can develop a global accredited training scheme in clinical toxinology. Such a scheme will require input from diverse global regions and will be far more comprehensive and over a much longer time than the current Short Course, though likely will incorporate the Short Course in some way, or a derivative of it.

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