1st and only medical director of Panhandle Poison Center retires

1st and only medical director of Panhandle Poison Center retires

Amarillo, TX - He's called one of the 'four founding fathers' for the Texas Poison Center Network.

"He's had a very strong impact on the world of Toxicology and we're just very happy to have had him for all of these years," said managing director for the Panhandle Poison Center, Jeanie Jaramillo.

The founder of the Panhandle Poison Center in Amarillo, Doctor Shu Shum retired on Wednesday. He spent 21 years as the first and only medical director for the center.

"I think I've come to the point in my life that it's better for me to step down and let the young ones lead the center into the next stage of development," said Shum.

Doctor Shum began his career in Amarillo in the 70's, when he had a small private family practice. About a decade later, he saw the need to have a Poison Center in our area and worked to make that happen.

"It's important because our area covers 71 counties and we are a rural area," said Shum. "It takes a lot of time for families to drive to either an emergency room or medical facility."

With the help of Senator Kel Seliger, Shum succeeded in 1994 and became the medical director for the Panhandle Poison Center. He also worked as a professor of pediatrics at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

"He had a hand in teaching many of the pediatricians that are working across the U.S. now," said Jaramillo.

Doctor Jaramillo says his position will not stay empty long.

"We have an excellent toxicologist that has taken the position for medical director," said Jaramillo. "Doctor Thomas Martin will be joining us. It's exciting to have some fresh blood come in with a new perspective and some energy to initiate some new programs."

Something Doctor Shum is happy with.

"I think he is well qualified," said Shum.

Doctor Martin has over 20 years in toxicology and is coming from Washington. He will be at the Panhandle Poison Center on Monday.