Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine
Office Phone: 202-741-2911
Department: Emergency Medicine
- BA, Oberlin College, 1974
- MD, Washington University, 1976
Dr. Litovitz founded the National Capital Poison Center in 1980 and has served as its Executive and Medical Director since that time. She also directs the National Battery Ingestion Hotline and the webPOISONCONTROL fully-automated, online poison control service. She served as Executive Director of the American Association of Poison Control Centers from 1994 to 2004 and coordinated the Toxic Exposure Surveillance System, the nation’s only poisoning surveillance database, from 1984 to 2005, now called the National Poison Data System.
Dr. Litovitz' current research focus includes:
- webPOISONCONTROL®, a fully automated online poison control triage tool and app. This innovative tool guides users faced with a poison emergency through a series of simple questions to determine the toxicity of an unintentionally swallowed subtance, before symptoms develop. After providing the name of the substance, amount swallowed, age and weight, the user is given a case-specific triage recommendation. That recommendation could be that it's safe to stay home because toxicity is minimal, that ER evaluation is required, or that further guidance from Poison Control (a phone call to 1-800-222-1222) is needed. When it's safe to stay home, the user is also given information on specific symptoms that are likely to occur and not of concern, and symptoms that should trigger a call to Poison Control or an ER visit, should they develop. The tool is powered by 1300 ingredient-based algorithms,44,000 products matched to these algorithms, and an additional 189,000 product barcodes (the user can scan the barcode to identify the implicated product). An analysis demonstrating the feasibility and safety of the webPOISONCONTROL tool was published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine in August 2016. Development is ongoing to expand the scope of the tool to include all exposure routes and symptomatic cases.
- Button battery ingestions. Dr. Litovitz directs the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at the National Capital Poison Center, a service established in 1982 that now provides consultations for more than 1100 battery ingestions annually. In addition to providing guidance for the public and health professionals when a battery is swallowed, the Center monitors battery ingestion trends and clinical responses. These data were instrumental in sounding the alarm about the deadly pediatric ingestion hazard associated with 20 mm diameter lithium coin cell batteries and in refining battery ingestion triage and treatment guidelines.
Centers and Institutes
National Capital Poison Center: Executive & Medical Director, 1980-present
- Injury Prevention and Toxicology
Industry Relationships and Collaborations
This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.