Leadership

CARBON MONOXIDE: WHAT THE HOSPITALS MAY NOT BE TELLING YOU

Issue 10 and Volume 156.

BY THOMAS DUNNE An estimated 10,200 people report to hospital emergency rooms each year for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to a study conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The majority of these injuries are caused by home heating systems. Yet, hospitals that might be obliged by law or protocol to inform the fire department of injuries caused by fire may not necessarily be obligated to report that patients have been exposed to carbon monoxide. Recently, I responded to an incident in New York City that highlighted the need for such communication. Fire units were dispatched to a two-story private dwelling at around 1130 hours for an “odor of fumes” with people overcome. On arrival at the scene, our units detected extremely high—800 parts per million (ppm)—carbon monoxide readings in the basement. The source was found to be a defective boiler in the heating system, a very common scenario. The…

Subscribe to unlock this content

Subscribe Now