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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Commonly referred to as the “Silent Killer,” carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that can cause brain damage and death. It is completely imperceptible by human senses, requiring special care when around devices known to emit it, such as motor vehicles, heaters, and kitchen stoves. A faulty heater or a lack of proper ventilation can quickly lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide inside a home, office, apartment or hotel room.

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 500 people a year die in the United States because of carbon monoxide poisoning and an additional 15,000 make trips to the hospital for related injuries. It is difficult to determine whether an individual is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning because the early symptoms are similar to the flu, and include headaches, nausea, and fatigue. For individuals who don't seek immediate medical attention for these symptoms because they think that rest will alleviate what they assume to be a harmless cold, the condition is often aggravated by returning to the house or apartment where the exposure is occurring.

If you live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or New York, and have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, contact a catastrophic personal injury or carbon monoxide poisoning lawyer at our firm today to set up a free, confidential consultation. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to aggressively litigate your case in order to help you obtain fair and just compensation for your injuries.

Sources and Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It is important to know what products produce carbon monoxide gas, where you may be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, and what precautions you can take to prevent it. Many sources of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as oil or gas heaters, hot water heaters, gas stoves, space heaters, car engines, gas-powered lawn mowers, and charcoal grills, as well as gasoline and diesel generators, can be found in or around the average home, and pose a significant risk to your health and well-being if fumes migrate into the living spaces of homes, apartments, offices or hotel rooms. Heating and cooking equipment, as well as vehicles that are left running in attached garages even with the door open, are all capable of producing dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide in a house or apartment.

It is important to know what the symptoms of CO poisoning are so that you or a loved one can seek immediate medical attention if you have experienced carbon monoxide poisoning. Many of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are not uniquely attributed to that form of illness alone, so many people don't get the treatment they require. Unfortunately, a lack of decisive action during the early stages of CO poisoning compounds the problem and extensive medical attention is often required when a diagnosis is eventually recognized. Fatal cases can occur in instances of acute poisoning when the concentration of carbon monoxide in the indoor air exceeds survivable levels.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is caused by inhaling carbon monoxide. This carbon monoxide binds with the hemoglobin in the red blood cells with 240 times the affinity of oxygen and thereby displaces oxygen in the blood stream.  When oxygen is displaced, it can not be delivered to the brain, heart or other organs causing cellular death and a cascade of chemical reactions damaging the brain and heart. Even at low levels, such as 25 to 100 parts per million, the effects are insidious and develop slowly, often mimicking the flu or neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis. For this reason, many people never realize that they have suffered CO poisoning or that they are continuing to suffer CO poisoning from something like a defective heater. The symptoms of non-lethal carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Fainting

  • Impaired judgment

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Drowsiness

  • Vomiting

  • Confusion

  • Seizure

  • Lapses in memory

  • Loss of consciousness

At the Locks Law Firm, our attorneys, serving Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, are ready to pursue your carbon monoxide poisoning case. To speak with a catastrophic injury or carbon monoxide poisoning lawyer, please contact us today.

Prevention and Treatment of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The most effective way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from occurring in your home is to properly maintain all appliances in your residence that emit carbon monoxide and to install a carbon monoxide detector. According to the National Fire Protection Association, though carbon monoxide detectors are rising in popularity, only about 15 percent of homes in the United States have one. By comparison, 96 percent of the homes in the United States have smoke alarms. Having a well-maintained carbon monoxide detector in your home is a practical way to quickly recognize the buildup of CO gas, giving the opportunity to promptly ventilate the living space, call the gas company and vacate the premises until the source is identified and corrected.

If you have suffered CO poisoning, it is important to seek immediate medical treatment. The treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning is to remove yourself from the source and counteract the effects of carbon monoxide with high doses of oxygen. As the lungs and blood are saturated with high doses of oxygen, the carboxy hemoglobin levels in the blood will be reduced and replaced with the oxygen that the brain, heart and other organs need to survive. A hyperbaric chamber may be used to more rapidly displace the carboxy hemoglobin. These are good ways to halt the exposure, but it is important to remember that many CO effects outlive the length of the exposure and can even be permanent.

If the incident occurs in the home, and the source of the carbon monoxide is unknown, it is imperative that the local fire department or a public service company be contacted so the problem can be neutralized before you return to your home. If you live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or New York, and have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, a catastrophic injury lawyer from the Locks Law Firm can help you obtain fair financial compensation for your medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.

Contact a Locks Law Firm Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawyer

If you are in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or New York, contact a catastrophic injury or carbon monoxide poisoning lawyer today for more information or to schedule a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation.

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