A guide to carbon monoxide...

Carbon monoxide poisoning
Family and group poisonings

Family and group carbon monoxide poisoning is surprisingly common. To be more precise, family and group poisonings are accurately diagnosed and publicized much more than single cases of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Two or more people arriving at the same hospital/clinic from the same location with similar symptoms are more likely to be accurately diagnosed however, there is still a high likelihood of misdiagnosis.

The vast majority of single cases of carbon monoxide poisoning go unrecognized and/or misdiagnosed. Nobody knows how many are misdiagnosed as there is no way of knowing for certain. There are only estimates.

Some say for every case of poisoning accurately diagnosed, there are at least ten that are misdiagnosed. Others say the ratio is [much] higher. This causes poisoning statistics to be highly questionable.

Just because several people at the same location suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning at the same time does not mean it will impact them in the same way. Symptoms may reveal themselves to a survivor in several ways.

People experience different symptoms while elevated levels of carbon monoxide are in their body/bloodstream. People also experience different symptoms and effects in the short term - and different symptoms and effects in the long term.

A person with a relatively low level of exposure could experience lifelong effects and someone with an extreme level of exposure may have a full recovery. There is no way to predict the outcome.

Amount of exposure, length of exposure, location within the building, what each person was doing at the time of exposure, age, individual health, and a persons physical constitution all play a role. Some people are at higher risk of ongoing symptoms and effects from poisoning than others.

Family poisonings can severely strain a family on many levels including daily functioning, work lives, finances, and relationships with each other and people outside the family. While every member of a family or group may have suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, each person may be affected and impacted in a different way.

Poisoning accidents where victims survive and others do not are unimaginably difficult, adding emotional pain on top of everything else.

Group poisonings are more likely to be properly diagnosed which then usually triggers an investigation by authorities to determine the source and circumstances that caused the carbon monoxide poisoning.

Additional certainty around the source and circumstances that cause carbon monoxide poisoning can be extremely beneficial. Group survivors are likely to have more legal options, more insurance options, and greater potential for insurance coverage.

Carbon monoxide poisoning case study

A family of four is seriously poisoned by carbon monoxide from what is thought to be a one time malfunction of a furnace. One dies from the poisoning and three survive. The survivors are affected very differently.

One year after the poisoning, one family member seems to have fully recovered. A second member insists they have recovered but is unable to recognize that they have had a range of symptoms including behavioral and personality changes - changes that those around them can see. The third member recognizes that they are still being affected, having a long list of symptoms and health issues.

Upon investigation by a team of inspectors it is revealed that the furnace had been improperly installed and had been venting low levels of CO into the home for years (under certain conditions). Everyone in the home had been exposed to a higher than normal level of carbon monoxide and had been experiencing a range of misdiagnosed health issues typical of multiple low level exposures (chronic carbon monoxide poisoning).

The mother was the family member that died from the poisoning. She had been unable to work due to health problems and had spent significantly more time in the family home. The investigation concluded that as she was at home most of the time, she likely had significantly more low level carbon monoxide exposure than the surviving family members. This was likely the main reason her health had been such a challenge and she had been unable to recover sufficiently and return to work. Her home had literally been killing her. The father traveled for extended periods with his work and spent the least amount of time in the home. He had the strongest recovery, likely because he had the least exposure.

See sources of carbon monoxide that caused one-time poisonings.

See sources of carbon monoxide that caused multiple poisonings.

Your comments about carbon monoxide poisoning...

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workplace exposure
heather
juts a quick question, for the past two months i have been bringing attention to an odd smell at work. No one seemed to care, but yesturday the odar was so bad as soon as you opened the back door the odor hit you in the face. I finally told the mgr, and they finally called the gas co. come to find out it was a carbn minoxide leak from the hot water heater...anything I can do? all the employees have had extended headaches, dizziness etc... for a while now, but now we know why.

CO poisonings are freaken tragic
Rory
In this day and age there is no excuse whatsoever for poisonings in the home. Detectors and inspections should be the law everywhere. No if ands or buts!

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