Robert J. Geller, MD
Dr. Geller is professor of pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine, Chief of Pediatrics at Grady Memorial Hospital/Hughes Spalding and Medical Director of the Georgia Poison Center.
Area of Specialty: Medical Toxicology and Pediatrics
An outspoken environmental safety advocate for children, Dr. Geller has been an Emory University School of Medicine faculty member for more than 25 years.
Medical toxicology is an appropriate place to be a pediatrician, as two-thirds of exposures to medications and toxins involve children. I became interested in pediatrics because most childhood illness occurs through no fault of the child, and most childhood illness is readily treatable. I became interested in toxicology through my interests in applying medical computing principles to clinical situations. In medical toxicology, you need to know about the ingredients of a product before you can decide how best to manage a patient. With more than 600,000 products available, managing this information is a data management problem to address. Childhood exposures to medications and poisons usually provoke great concern on the part of the child’s parents, but usually are of low severity and the parent can be reassured. Where the child may become ill from their exposure, getting the child quickly to the right care reduces the risk of serious illness, and we can help this to happen. During my time at the Georgia Poison Center, we have handled more than 800,000 cases, with great success. We have grown to serve as a key link between the public, hospitals, and Public Health across the state.
The Georgia Poison Center was founded by Emory pediatricians at Grady almost 40 years ago. Grady supported its growth and development, and Emory provided its medical leadership, for 10 years until the first outside funding was obtained, because the leadership of both institutions recognized the importance of this service to the community.
Grady is the place where patients come after major trauma or burns. The Georgia Poison Center has become the place to contact in any poisoning event or public health emergency. We serve as the link between Public Health and hospitals all across the state, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When chemicals are released at a factory, we are able to gather the necessary information and share it with individuals living nearby. When a hospital needs a rare antidote to treat a patient, it is often available right at Grady. If not, we are able to work with other hospitals to find it as nearby as possible.
More on Dr. Geller
Grady Impact: Poison Center
Feature Article: "Grady Poison Control Answers 24/7 (2008)"
Georgia Poison Center