Medical History

As much detailed information as possible must be obtained about the medical history. Answers to questions pertaining to the number of exposed persons and the type, amount, and route of exposure are essential. In addition, the patient's intent must be extensively appraised. Clinicians must be aware of the inherent inaccuracies in these types of histories. The patient's motivation, potential for secondary gain, and perceived risk of arrest all may affect the history. Corroborating information should be obtained from the patient's private physician, witnesses, or emergency medical technicians who were on scene. Histories of where in the environment the patient was found, empty pill bottles or containers nearby, smells or unusual materials in the home, the occupation of the person, or the presence of a suicide note all may provide important clues to identifying the exposure.

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