University of Maryland hospital reports carbon monoxide poisoning cases

Dark, Ominous Clouds Promise Rain and poor Weather.The University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center received three emergency cases when a man and two women were brought in with carbon monoxide poisoning. The victims were residents of North Laurel and were part of the Hurricane Sandy black out.

Firefighters and paramedics arrived to the residence shortly after a 911 call was made at 5 am in the morning. A standard piece of firefighter equipment know as a gas badge immediately warned them of high concentrations of carbon monoxide.

A backup generator was being used on the bottom floor of the house sitting in an open doorway between the living area and garage. There were no other openings for ventilation. When measured, the toxic gas was more than 30 times normal levels.

The male victim was admitted to the trauma center in critical condition but is now in serious condition as he remains in the hospital for continued treatment.

Earlier this year 5 Maryland residents died in their homes as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. A significant amount of wear on a furnace exhaust pipe leaked the deadly gas back into the house instead of safely outside.

Roughly 500 unintentional deaths per year are attributed to the gas, which makes it one of the leading causes of poison-related deaths outside of narcotics and prescription drug abuse.

Officials continue to warned the public, especially those who are affected by the storm, to follow safety guidelines regarding the use of generators, gas grills, wood fires, or kerosene space heaters within the home. While smoke and exhaust fumes have an odor, carbon monoxide does not.

For more information and safety tips to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and ways of recognizing the effects, I recommend going to the National Capital Poison Center website.