Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be undetectable and irreversible and can cause death before you are even aware of what is happening. I am working on a carbon monoxide death case that involves a faulty HVAC heating system. The furnace malfunctioned and filled the home with high levels of carbon monoxide (CO). The CO was so high that two people died while laying on the bed, apparently unaware of the danger they were in. They weren’t found until a few days after they died. It turns out that the HVAC technician had multiple years of complaints, had lost his HVAC license once, and according to witnesses had performed other shoddy work that caused CO elevations.

CO attaches to the hemoglobin in the body. Hemoglobin is what carries oxygen to the body, and you will essentially suffocate without it. The scariest part of CO poisoning is that you can’t smell it, you can’t taste it and you can’t see it. CO is an invisible killer and an effective killer. Also, once you breathe in enough CO, you may die without treatment. You can’t just run outside and breathe in a lot of fresh air. CO isn’t in your lungs, it is in your blood and bound to your hemoglobin. You will exhale CO2 only, which is of course not the same thing. CO, (monoxide not dioxide), takes time to leave your body. It is like escaping a burning building, making it outside, then dying in the parking lot. If you want some more technical information on CO, take a look at the Wikipedia site.

What does carbon monoxide have to do with personal injury cases or lawyers? CO is usually the product of an unclean burn or improper venting. For example, just a few months ago an eleven-year-old boy died at the Best Western hotel in Boone. About two months before he died, two other people died in that exact same room. Detectives discovered that a hot water heater right below room 225 where they died wasn’t vented properly. The exhaust from the heater was leaking into that room. The landlord and hotel owner will likely be held responsible for this improper venting. We as customers and tenants have to trust that HVAC technicians and other people that work with gas are doing their jobs properly. We have to trust this every day. How many of us have gas stoves? Gas hot water heaters? Gas furnaces? We and our families are all probably exposed to these potential dangers every week. The vast majority of the time, we are fine because HVAC technicians do their jobs carefully and landlords inspect their premises. However, if they don’t, it puts us all at risk. If you have any questions about the above or want to talk about a carbon monoxide poisoning, contact me. I will talk to you for free.