Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Responsible for Evacuation

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Posted on 19th November 2013 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

 Once again undetected Carbon Monoxide could have severely injured unsuspecting people.  Last night around 9:00pm an apartment building was evacuated in DePere Wisconsin.  The fire department was called in as some of the residents were experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.  It turns out that the levels of carbon monoxide rose to over 300 parts per million.  100 parts per million is considered a dangerous level and 200 parts per million is when the fire fighters are required to wear oxygen masks.

The fire department blamed a natural gas heater located in a warehouse behind and outside the living units of the apartment building.The gas made its way into the building where the residents were.  Thirty people were evacuated but only two were taken to the hospital.  The condition of these two is unknown.

Carbon monoxide can quickly soar to a high level before anyone is effected.   The article states that a monitor detected the carbon monoxide at 300 part per million but does not say whether that was a monitor that was in the building or one that the fire department brought in.  A CO detector in the living quarters may have prevented the exposure and prevented injury.  Everyone should have working carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of their residence.

We wonder why  only two out of the thirty residents were sent to the hospital for treatment.  What about the other twenty-eight?  They should also be tested for carbon monoxide poisoning, Even though they may not have been exhibiting symptoms of the exposure they may have been exposed to dangerous levels themselves.  All of them should have been tested.  There is a simple blood test to check for carbon monoxide, called a carboxyhemoglobin test.  Such test will provide clear evidence that someone has been exposed to carbon monoxide.  The test for carboxyhemoglobin is similar to a blood test for alcohol.  It will show if the toxin is there, but only if the blood is tested shortly after the exposure.  If not done within a day or two, the chances are the test will be irrelevant.


Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
g@gordonjohnson.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Seattle

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Posted on 1st November 2013 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

 Seven people were taken to the hospital Wednesday night for carbon monoxide poisoning.  This happened at a condominium complex in Seattle, where the CO was notice the smell of exhaust and alerted authorities.   Two out the seven show significant impairment from the exposure and were being treated with hyperbaric oxygen treatment.  These two individuals are still in critical condition and may have long term severe impairments. In fact, the problems associated with carbon monoxide exposure could actually get worse for all seven individuals for up to the next 40 days.  See our page on Delayed Neurological Sequelae of CO exposure.  http://codamage.com/carbon_monoxide_poisoning/carbon_monoxide_delayed_onset.html

Further, if there was sufficient carbon monoxide in this building for these seven individuals to get hospitalized, others living there could also be effected.  It is key to determine the source of the CO and to make sure that all those who could have inhaled it, get their blood tested for carboxyhemoglobin.  It is critical that such tests are done now, as the evidence may go away, but the disability could be quite significant.

While carbon monoxide is odorless, sometimes people are warned of the danger because they can smell exhaust, such as in this case.  When coupled with things that smell, like automobile exhaust, people can be warned. What makes it so dangerous in dwellings is that it may exist, even when there isn’t smoke or exhaust odors.  But certainly, when you smell smoke, there is probably carbon monoxide in the air.

This is not the first and only incident of carbon monoxide poisoning in the past several months.

There is the incident this past July where a hotel in the mountains of North Carolina, specifically Boone North Carolina, where three deaths are blamed on carbon monoxide poisoning, in two separate incidents, months apart. An elderly couple died in one incident but no corrective actions were taken and then months later,  an eleven year old boy died in the same room.

In June of this year there was a carbon monoxide incident in Lake Delton Wisconsin (a popular tourist town aka as the Wisconsin Dells) that sent several people to the hospital.  This time there were carbon monoxide detectors in place.  But it took the employees to get unexplained headaches before they became aware that the carbon monoxide detector was flashing.  Doesn’t seem like a very practicalway to be notified of unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.  Why didn’t an alarm go off once the levels became unsafe.  It seems that this instance of sending people to the hospital could also have been prevented. There were no deaths attributed to this incidence.

The winter of 2013 was brutal in some parts of the country with unusually high amounts of snow accumulations.   In Boston after what was named the “Blizzard of 2013” there were three incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning.  It was reported that a 14 year old boy died from carbon monoxide poisoning while waiting inside the car while his father dug the car out after a blizzard. In a second incident a man died who had the heat running in his car trying to stay warm and didn’t realize that the tail pipe was buried in snow.  And a third incident a three and four year old were in a car trying to stay warm but thankfully they were discovered in time to be treated and they survived.

Just last week at the track in Clarksville Tennesee a couple, while enjoying a weekend spent doing their favorite past time of race car spectating, were sleeping in their motor home and the husband died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The wife was treated and considered to be alright.  Motor homes of all vehicles should be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.  Deaths, brain damage and other organ damage could be avoided if precautions are taken.


Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
g@gordonjohnson.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

Carbon Monoxide Easily Passes Through Drywall, Study Says

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Posted on 21st August 2013 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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A new study has discovered a pretty disturbing, deadly fact: The lethal gas carbon monoxide can pass through gypsum wallboard, better known as drywall. Simply put, your home’s own walls won’t protect you from the poisonous gas that could filter in from a neighbor’s apartment.

That’s the topic of a story Forbes published Tuesday headlined “Carbon Monoxide, A Silent Killer: Are You Safe?’ Apparently, you often are not. The article is a fine primer on the dangers of CO poisoning, and talks about the implications and issues that arise out of the new research.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/marijkevroomendurning/2013/08/20/carbon-monoxide-a-silent-killer-are-you-safe/

The story cited a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). That research  determined that carbon monoxide passes through drywall, the apparently quite porous material typically used as walls and ceiling in homes.

Here is the summary of the research that JAMAs provided

 http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1730499

“Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a significant U.S. health problem, responsible for approximately 500 accidental deaths annually,1 and a risk of 18% to 35% for cognitive brain injury 1 year after poisoning.2 Most morbidity and mortality from CO poisoning is believed to be preventable through public education and CO alarm use.

States have been enacting legislation mandating residential CO alarm installation.3 However, as of December 2012, 10 of the 25 states with statutes mandating CO alarms exempted homes without fuel-burning appliances or attached garages, believing that without an internal CO source, risk is eliminated. This may not be true if CO diffuses directly through wallboard material.”

The Forbes story quoted the JAMA study’s lead author, who explained that in a multi-family building, one of your neighbors could foolishly bring a charcoal grill inside to their own apartment, for example. The carbon monoxide from that grill could infiltrate your apartment by passing through the drywall, and if you are exempt from having a CO detector under your state’s law, you could sustain carbon monoxide poisoning.

That why some of the experts in the Forbes story say that state laws should require all homes to have CO detectors, not just residences with gas stoves and fireplaces or an attached garage where a car could be left idling, according to Forbes. As one expert said, once the gas is in a building it can go from unit to unit.

Forbes cited a case in a county in North Carolina, which required most houses to have CO detectors, but exempted all-electric residences that didn’t have attached garages. Alarms that were powered by electricity alone were  also permitted.

Months later, when an ice storm knocked out power for nine days, there were 124 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in the county, Forbes said. And roughly 96 percent of the “severe” poisonings happened in homes that didn’t have a functioning CO detector.

As a result, the North Carolina county changed its ordinance to mandate carbon monoxide detectors in all homes, and that the devices installed had to have a back-up battery system, according to Forbes.

The Centers for Disease Control also offered its own scary fact: That just 30 percent of U.S. homes have working carbon monoxide detectors.

Perhaps even worse, according to Forbes, is that some folks mistakenly believe that their smoke detectors also act as carbon monoxide alarms.

The Forbes story also addressed an issue that I’ve written many blogs about, namely carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels. When you are traveling, you should proactively protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning by bringing a portable carbon monoxide detector with you, Forbes suggested.

It’s good advice. Such CO alarms can be purchased in hardware stores, and are small and relatively cheap, according to Forbes.


Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
g@gordonjohnson.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

CO Detectors Never Installed At N.C. Hotel Where 3 Died

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Posted on 12th August 2013 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Here are some more disturbing findings coming out of the investigation of the Boone, N.C., hotel where three guests apparently succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning and died.

The Charlotte Observer reported Sunday that the Best Western hotel didn’t put in carbon monoxide detectors — as recommended by an instruction manual — when it installed a pool heater believed to have been the source of the lethal gas.

 http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/08/11/3100415/boone-hotel-heater-came-with-warnings.html

Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza, run by Appalachian Hospitality Management, had transferred that heater out of another hotel operated by the company, a Sleep Inn, in 2011, the Observer reported. The move of that heater, by the way, was done without any permit or inspection, which the newspaper said was an apparent violation of North Carolina’s building code.

Here is the rundown in this series of errors by the hotel and public officials that apparently led to three innocent victims losing their lives.

In April an elderly married couple, Daryl and Shirley Jenkins, died in room 225 of the Best Western. Despite the suspicious nature of their deaths, local fire officials never tested for carbon monoxide at the scene, according to the Observer.

The county medical examiner didn’t deign to come to the hotel room, nor did he ask for a toxicology test on Mrs. Jenkins to be expedited. That report ended up being sent to the ME a week before room 225 had claimed a third victim, 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams. The report said that Mrs. Jenkins had deadly levels of CO in her blood.

Nonetheless room 225, located directly above the hotel pool, remained in use.  And Williams died. The ME has since resigned.

The Observer obtained a copy of the owner’s manual for the Jandy Lite 2 pool heater that the Best Western moved from the Sleep Inn. Its first page “strongly recommends” that carbon monoxide detectors be installed near the heater when it is used for an indoor pool, the paper reported.

The manual also warns that faulty installation of the heater can cause death or severe injury from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Observer.

And here’s another little twist in the case. The Best Western had a contractor convert fireplaces in the rooms that had them, which included 225, to natural gas. As part of that process, the contractor was supposed to install carbon monoxide detectors in rooms that had undergone the conversion. Instead, the contractor mistakenly put in alarms that detected combustible gas, the Observer said, not CO.

Needless to say, a carbon monoxide alarm in room 225 would have saved several lives.

Thankfully, the three victims have not died in vain. Last month the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that mandates that hotels put in CO detectors in enclosed spaces that have that a fossil-fuel-burning appliance, heater or fireplace, as well as in hotel rooms that share a floor, wall or ceiling with such spaces, the Observer reported.

That law goes into effect in October.


Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
g@gordonjohnson.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

One Dead, 16 Suffer Carbon Monoxide Poisoning At Farm

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Posted on 4th August 2013 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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One person was killed and 16 suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning at a packing facility at a North Carolina farm Friday night, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20130804/NEWS/308040059/Toxic-fumes-blamed-Macon-farm-worker-death?nclick_check=1

EMTs arrived at Norton Creek Farms in Franklin, N.C., about 7 p.m. Friday, where they found two workers who were unresponsive. The two were discovered in a refrigerated house where fruits and vegetables are kept, the Citizen-Times reported.

One of those workers suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead at Angel Medical Center in Franklin, while the other worker was airlifted to Greenville Memorial Hospital, condition unknown.

Four witnesses who tried to help at the scene were overcome by the carbon monoxide, whose source is under investigation. In addition, 11 people from the Macon County Sheriff’s Department and local fire departments also got ill from their exposure to the lethal gas, according to the Citizen-Times.

Many of them were dizzy and vomiting, and they were taken to Angel Medical.


Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
g@gordonjohnson.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

Tenn. Merchant Overcome By CO Poisoning At His Shop

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Posted on 3rd August 2013 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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The owner of a Kingsport, Tenn., automobile paint shop — known for appearing in local commercials — was found suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning Friday morning at his business, according to the Times News.

 http://www.timesnews.net/article/9065689/bill-mcconnell-suffers-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-at-kingsport-paint-shop

Bill McConnell was taken from his establishment, Bill McConnell Paint and Body Shop, to Holston Valley Medical Center, where he was in stable condition. A dog that McConnell kept on his premises was killed by the carbon monoxide that sickened McConnell.

A little bit before 8 a.m. an employee found McConnell mumbling, and that he had had also vomited, the Times News reported. McConnell sometimes stayed overnight at his shop because he lived out of state, the paper said.

EMTs were called to the scene, and apparently at that point McConnell was more coherent.

The Kingsport Fire Department suspected that the source of the carbon monoxide was “gas-powered equipment in the garage area, which was not burning off property,” the Times News wrote. The entire building had to be fully ventilated.

 

 

 

 


Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
g@gordonjohnson.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

Thomas Cook Wins Damages Over Two CO Deaths At Greek Hotel

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Posted on 31st July 2013 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Unfortunately, the United States isn’t the only country where guests are being killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels.

There has been some legal resolution over the deaths of Christianne Shepherd, 7, and her brother Robert, 6, who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning in October 2006 in a hotel in Corfu, Greece. According to Travel Weekly UK, the British kids died when a gas boiler used to heat water for their room malfunctioned, sending the deadly gas into their quarters at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel.

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2013/07/30/44829/cook+wins+damages+from+carbon+monoxide+deaths+hotel.html

Now a judge had ruled that tour operator Thomas Cook wasn’t liable for the tragic accident, and ordered the hotel to pay interim damages to Cook of 1 million pounds, Travel Weekly UK reported.

Cook is seeking 5 million pounds in damages, for expenses it paid as a result of the accidental deaths, including legal fees for two of its employees who were originally charged with manslaughter in Greece. One of those workers was acquitted and charges were dropped against the other one.

Three employees of the hotel, including its manager at the time of the deaths, were convicted of manslaughter in Greece and received 7-year sentences, according to Travel Weekly UK.

The hotel’s owner has already reached a settlement with the parents of the children that were killed, Sharon Wood and Neil Shepherd. But Wood told BBC News that she was blindsided by Cook’s action against the Louis hotel.

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-23504911

Wood said that she wasn’t aware that Cook had taken legal action against the hotel, and had she known she wouldn’t have accepted a settlement from the hotel that was less than the interim payment that the tour operator has just received, according to BBC News.

She noted that it had been a big financial burden to spend several years traveling to Greece for legal proceedings relating to the deaths of her children.


Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
g@gordonjohnson.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

Three In Falls Church Hospitalized For Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Posted on 25th July 2013 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Three people in Falls Church, Va., had to be hospitalized Wednesday for carbon monoxide poisoning after a faulty furnace leaked the lethal gas, according to WTOP-TV. Their apartment building was evacuated.

http://www.wtop.com/149/3398640/Carbon-monoxide-poisoning-in-Falls-Church-sends-3-to-hospital

Fairfax County EMTs were called to the Baileys Crossroads apartment building at Malibu Circle at 2:30 a.m., the TV station reported. Several of the residents has symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, including nausea and dizziness.

A man and woman were taken to INOVA Fairfax Hospital, while another man was sent to Arlington Hospital. Authorities told WTOP-TV that the three were going to recover.

Residents in the apartment building were evacuated after firefighters tested and found dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. The building was ventilated, WTOP-TV said.

Workers from Washington Gas were called to the scene and found that a faulty furnace was the source of the carbon monoxide.

 


Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
g@gordonjohnson.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

Indiana Couple Died Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Posted on 16th July 2013 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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A coroner confirmed Monday that a young Indiana couple found in their house on the Fourth of July died of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Associated Press.

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/70141831ccec41f9b419ee4d0fa10ed9/IN–Couple-Found-Dead

Mitchell Rider, 28, and Jamie Hooker, 28, were found by Rider’s father, who also discovered that there was a car left running in their garage, AP reported.

Elkhart County Coroner John White said that tests found that the victims had more than 80 percent carbon monoxide in their blood, when a mere 40 percent is toxic, according to AP.

Authorities are still investigating the deaths.

 


Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
g@gordonjohnson.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

Elderly Penn. Man Killed In Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Posted on 15th July 2013 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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A 95-year-old Pennsylvania man was found dead, and his sister was rendered unconscious, due to carbon monoxide fumes from a car left running in their garage, according to KDKA.

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/07/13/elderly-man-found-dead-in-apparent-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-incident

The tragedy happened Saturday night in Baldwin, Pa., in a home that the elderly brother and sister shared.

The body of the victim, Jack Skerba, was discovered in the upstairs of the home, KDKA reported. An autopsy was set to be performed on his body Sunday,

The sister was hospitalized, but is expected to recover, KDKA said.

 


Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
g@gordonjohnson.com :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.