Department of Surgery Faculty
Miguel C. Fernández, MD
Director, South Texas Poison Center
Division: Emergency Medicine
MD, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, 1985
BA, Biological Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA 1980
Medical toxicology, Arizona Health Sciences Center, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ
Emergency medicine, Drew Medical Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. General Hospital, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Research interests: Snakebites, poisonings, Environmental Health, International Health, Health Care Disparities
Clinical interests: poisoning prevention education, telemedicine video-conferencing for emergency medicine, medical toxicology, herbal medication
Walter FG, Chase PB, Fernandez MC, Cameron D, Roe DJ, Wolfson, M. Pyridoxine does not prevent hyperbaric oxygen-induced seizures in rats. The Journal of Emergency Medicine, Vol. 31, No. 2, pp135-138, 2006.
Pit viper envenomation in pregnancy: A case report and literature review Journal of Emergency Medicine, Volume 30, Issue 2, February 2006, Pages 167-169 Craig G. Chang, Charlie Jaynes, Miguel C. Fern·ndez and Stephen T. Hougen
From Hemlock to 'Huffing' - Poison Centers See It All, Miguel C. Fernandez, Bexar County Medical Society San Antonio Medicine, February 2006, Vol 59, No.2
2010, XXX International Congress of the European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists (EAPCCT), Bordeaux, France, 'Health Care Disparities in Delivering Poison Center Services to Spanish Speakers in Texas'.
2010, XXX International Congress of the European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists (EAPCCT), Bordeaux, France, 'Poison Center Data: Complete or Completely Inaccurate? How to Improve Accuracy in Data Recording'.
2010, XXX International Congress of the European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists (EAPCCT), Bordeaux, France, 'The Comparative Clinical Effects of Cocaine and Amphetamines'.
2009, Improving Patient Safety: Success Stories of the Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative and the Poison Centers Role in Patient Safety, American Pharmacists Association, San Antonio, Texas.
2009, Addressing health care disparities in delivering poison center services to Spanish speakers in Texas.' Health Disparities Conference, New Orleans, LA.
2009, 'Regional poison center hourly call-taker staffing and call volume.' 29th International Congress of the European Association of Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicologists, Stockholm, Sweden.
Reversal of Atrial Fibrillation in Cyanide Poisoning, poster presentation, North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology, 2008
Biosketch: Dr. Miguel Fernández is responsible for the operation of the South Texas Poison Center and serves as liaison between the University Hospital and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Fernández completed his postgraduate training in medical toxicology at Arizona Health Sciences Center, University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, Arizona and his emergency medicine training in the Department of Emergency Medicine, Drew Medical Center, Martin Luther King, Jr., General Hospital, University of California at Los Angeles in California.
In the News:
Congratulations to Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, on his appointment to the National Toxicology Program Board of Scientific Counselors: The National Toxicology Program Board of Scientific Counselors was established in 1978 by the Department of Health and Human Services as a cooperative effort to monitor, control, and coordinate toxicology testing and to provide information about potentially toxic chemicals to the public and health, regulatory, medical and research agencies. Appointed by Kathleen Sebelius, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Fernández's term on the board will run through June 2013. National Toxicology Program | South Texas Poison Center (12-8-10)
December 2010 – Congratulations to our Surgery faculty chosen as San Antonio's
'Best Doctors' published in the January 2011 issue of San Antonio Magazine:
Emergency Medicine: Miguel Fernández, MD. (12-7-10)
KENS-5 – Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, interviewed by KENS-5 regarding teen cough medicine abuse: A growing number of young people are chugging down cough medicine for a quick high. A recently published report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found the inappropriate use of dextromethorphan which is found in over 100 over-the-counter-medicines and is linked to nearly 8,000 emergency room visits in 2008, up more than 70% from 2004. KENS-5 story, video | South Texas Poison Center (9-7-10)
KENS-5 – Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, discusses listeria contamination of deli meats, sold locally in pre-packaged sandwiches at Walmart stores. 380,000 pounds of meat that may be contaminated with bacteria called listeria have been recalled. Listeria is a common, naturally-occurring bug that can spread in food that has been mishandled. "The listeria bacterium is very crafty about figuring out how to escape our own immune system," explained Dr. Fernández. Victims "could develop high fever, neck pain and stiffness. They could get meningitis. It can be fatal." KENS-5 story, video | South Texas Poison Center (8-25-10)
San Antonio Express-News interviews Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center: Concern about synthetic marijuana is very real — Synthetic marijuana — manufactured and distributed nationwide under various brand names — is intended to be used as incense or potpourri. However, many people are smoking it, looking for a high similar to marijuana that's available over the counter and won't show up on drug tests. Nationwide, there have been more than 750 calls to poison centers about adverse reactions to smoking synthetic marijuana. Complaints range from headaches, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat to seizures or blackouts. Read Express-News story | South Texas Poison Center (8-17-10)
KENS-5 – Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, talks about the dangers of K-2: Made from herbs and spices, K-2 mimics marijuana and is completely legal. However, South Texas emergency rooms and medical care providers are now seeing the dangerous side effects of K-2. Dr. Fernández recently treated a man in his 30s who was experiencing seizures and other symptoms as a result of smoking K-2. KENS-5 story, video | South Texas Poison Center (8-13-10)
McDonald's pulls 12 million USA-made cadmium-tainted 'Shrek' glasses: Miguel Fernández, MD, director of the South Texas Poison Center, discussed the potential danger of cadmium poisoning during an interview with WOAI-4 News. This recall dramatically expands contamination concerns about the toxic metal beyond imported children's jewelry. Dr. Fernández explained that the potential danger of the contaminated glasses would be long-term exposure to low levels of cadmium, which could leach from the paint onto a child's hand, then enter the body if the child puts that unwashed hand to his or her mouth. South Texas Poison Center | WOAI-4 Story (6-7-10)
Button batteries a powerful health risk for young children: Miguel Fernández, MD, director of the South Texas Poison Center, spoke with KENS5 health reporter Wendy Rigby about the growing threat posed by these small batteries to small children. Found in items ranging from digital thermometers to children's books to musical greeting cards, the batteries seem harmless. But, says Dr. Fernández, "Anything really small can get into the mouth of a child pretty easily. They're small. They're round. They're shiny, so kids like them." Small enough to lodge in the throat or airway of a small child, they can cause choking. Read KENS5 story, view video (6-2-10)
Hidden dangers of energy drinks — too much of a good thing: Over-consumption of 'energy drinks' can lead to chest pain, rapid heartbeat, nausea, vomiting and agitation, and a trip to the emergency room. Miguel Fernández, MD, director of the South Texas Poison Center, spoke with WOAI News about the effects of the extremely high amounts of caffeine in some of the energy drinks. View WOAI video, read story (5-13-10)
Miguel Fernández, MD, promoted: The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Department of Surgery has announced the promotion effective September 1, 2010 of Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, to Professor of Surgery. (4-19-10)
Congratulations to Miguel Fernández, MD, Associate Professor and Medical Director of the South Texas Poison Center, who has been appointed as the National Hispanic Medical Association representative to a two-year term on the Governing Council of the Minority Affairs Consortium (MAC) of the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA-MAC provides a national forum for advocacy on minority health issues and professional concerns of minority physicians and medical students. More about the AMA-MAC (4-27-09)
Miguel Fernández, MD, Medical Director of the South Texas Poison Center, interviewed by KWEX-TV for A Su Salud on the subject of Poisons in the home: We all have many common items in our homes that we don't think of as poisons. Dr. Fernández discussed how families can identify some of these common household poisons (cosmetics, charcoal, soaps, plants, etc.) and how to protect their children from ingesting these items. South Texas Poison Center website (4-23-09)
Miguel Fernández, MD, Medical Director of the South Texas Poison Center, spoke on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Poison Control Program (Health Services Administration) at the 2009 Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Pharmacists Association in San Antonio. The topic of Dr. Fernández's was 'Improving Patient Safety: Success Stories of the Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative and the Poison Centers Role in Patient Safety.' (4-14-09)
Miguel Fernández, MD, Medical Director of the South Texas Poison Center, interviewed about Texas Legislature House Bill 23, regarding meth lab disclosure: This bill would add a meth lab disclosure requirement to leases. "We have a saying in toxicology that there is nothing that is not a poison," Dr. Fernández said. "It's the dose that makes the poison. And this really is pertinent to this scenario." HB 23 adds to current law regarding disclosures to homebuyers, with a further requirement for landlords to inform renters before a lease is signed that the property had been used as a methamphetamine lab. Unlike asbestos or lead contamination in a home, the effects of methamphetamine contamination may vary widely. Read story in Express-News (4-3-09)
Congratulations to South Texas Poison Center Assistant Director Lizette Villarreal, and Director, Miguel Fernández, MD, on their successful submission for presentation of two abstracts: 'Addressing health care disparities in delivering poison center services to Spanish speakers in Texas,' has been accepted for poster presentation to the 3rd Annual Health Disparities Conference in New Orleans, LA, March 2009. Their abstract 'Regional poison center hourly call-taker staffing and call volume' has been accepted for poster presentation at the 29th International Congress of the European Association of Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicologists in Stockholm, Sweden, in May 2009. (3-12-09) March 16-22 is National Poison Prevention Week: Dr. Miguel Fernández, MD, toxicologist and director of the South Texas Poison Center, reminds everyone of the services available 24/7 to the citizens of San Antonio, Bexar County and the South Texas region. Read HSC press release | Visit the STPC website (3-18-08)
Miguel Fernandez, MD, Director, South Texas Poison Center, was interviewed on KENS-5 San Antonio's evening news regarding the CDC's recent warnings about elemental mercury in some antiques. CDC: Elemental Mercury Releases ... (7-9-07)
Awards and honors:
2010, San Antonio Magazine 'Best Doctors'
2010, eMedicine / WebMD letter of recognition for contributions to eMedicine Clinical Knowledge Base
Hispanic Medical Association representative to American Medical Association Minority Affairs Consortium, 2-year term; 2009
Fellow of the American College of Medical Toxicology
Fellowship in Health Care Policy, NYU School of Public Policy/National Hispanic Medical Association, New York and Washington DC
Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians
National Health Service Corps Scholarship Award
Appointment by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson to the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the CDC in Atlanta
Bexar County Medical Society
American Acacemy of Clinical Toxicology
American College of Medical Toxicology
American College of Emergency Physicians
American Academy of Emergency Medicine
American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
Texas Medical Association