Act fast with Panadol overdose
LITTLE Ava Thompson’s climbing skills and love for sweet things took a dangerous turn when she drank a bottle of children’s Panadol recently.
Despite initial fears from doctors that the two-yearold had suffered permanent liver damage, Mt Druitt Hospital toxicologist Dr Gopi Mann expects there will be no long-term consequences.
Ava’s mother Hayley is sharing her story to encourage other parents to follow their instincts.
About 6pm on June 30 Ava was found sucking an orange liquid off her fingers in the kitchen. There was an open Panadol bottle and a small puddle on the bench.
Ms Thompson said Ava had used the drawer handles to climb up onto the bench.
“I mustn’t have put the lid on properly,” she said.
Ms Thompson said she called the nurses hotline and was transferred to the NSW Poisons Information Centre.
“They told me because she wasn’t showing any symptoms and I couldn’t tell how much she had actually swallowed, I should just monitor her and if any symptoms appeared to call them back,” she said.
“She had no symptoms so I eventually gave her a bottle and put her to bed. But at about 10pm she came into us screaming in agony, grabbing her stomach and vomiting. I just panicked.”
Ms Thompson said she called the poison hotline back, explained the symp- toms and answered the operator’s questions. She said the operator agreed she should take Ava to emergency but was told her to save calling an ambulance for those who really needed it.
As a result, Ms Thompson and her fiance put Ava and her big sister in the car and drove to the hospital.
“Ava was throwing up the whole way. It got to a point she had nothing left to throw up so she was bringing up what looked like blood. It was horrific,” she said.
When they arrived at hospital, Ms Thompson’s fiance had to head back home to get the Panadol bottle before any treatment could start.
Dr Mann said the hospital saw cases of Panadol overdoses in children on a weekly basis but Ava’s case was “unusual”.
He said the hospital had an eight-hour window from the time the Panadol was taken to give an antidote to prevent permanent liver damage.
Dr Mann said quick action was needed if the patient’s tests showed levels of blood paracetamol concentration of 880 or above. Ava’s results were 981.
Because the hospital’s pathology unit was closed for the night, her bloods were rushed to Blacktown Hospital by taxi. The results came back in the final hour of the eight-hour window.
A spokeswoman for the NSW Poisons Information Centre said calls were taken by specialists in poisons information with backgrounds in pharmacy and specific training in poisons information and clinical toxicology.
“Advice given depends on the history provided and subsequent risk assessment for each individual case,” the spokeswoman said.
It was awful, Ava was throwing up the whole way
– HAYLEY THOMPSON
Ava Thompson in Mt Druitt Hospital after a Panadol overdose. She is expected to make a full recovery.