s a medical technician, you may encounter patients as the result of poisoning, drug overdose, or exposure to hazardous materials. Such patients may initially present with no symptoms or with varying degrees of overt intoxication. The asymptomatic patient may have been exposed to or ingested a lethal dose of a substance but not exhibit any manifestations of toxicity. A patient with mild symptoms may deteriorate rapidly, so observe them closely. Potentially significant exposures should be observed in an acute care facility whenever possible. Remember, though: We are not always in a hospital environment, and we must be prepared to deal with each situation when and wherever it should present itself.
In this chapter, we will discuss the assessment and treatment for ingested, inhaled, absorbed, and injected poisons. Drug abuse assessment and treatment procedures, patient handling techniques, and the recognition of hazardous material (HAZMAT) personal safety guidelines and information sources will also be covered. The last part of the chapter will cover rescue, patient care, and decontamination procedures for patients exposed to HAZMAT.