A guide to carbon monoxide...

Professional [mis] diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning

While a diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning may sound straightforward enough, making the link to carbon monoxide exposure as the source of the problem is very frequently missed by health care professionals.

Properly identifying carbon monoxide exposure/poisoning as the source of symptoms is not as obvious as it may seem.

Often, the first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning show up as flu-like, food-poisoning-like, or alcohol-poisoning-like symptoms: headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, exhaustion, mild incoherence, blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, and brain fog. Each of these symptoms can have a number of far more common causes than carbon monoxide poisoning. This can easily lead to a wrong diagnosis.

Tragically, the link to carbon monoxide as the source of symptoms is commonly missed in emergency rooms, clinics, and doctors offices.

The overwhelming majority of carbon monoxide poisonings are never diagnosed. They are unrecognized, untreated, unreported, and unaccounted.

Statistically, two or more people arriving at the same hospital/clinic from the same location with similar symptoms are more likely to be accurately diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning - but there is still a high likelihood of misdiagnosis.

There is no way to know how many cases are misdiagnosed, there are only estimates. Some say for every case of CO poisoning accurately diagnosed, there are at least ten that are misdiagnosed.

Our lives are packed with an almost endless number of sources and circumstances that could cause carbon monoxide poisoning. This means there are [potentially] an incredible number of people that are being poisoned carbon monoxide but do not know carbon monoxide is the cause of their symptoms.

Just how large and how deep does the carbon monoxide poisoning "iceberg" go? Nobody knows becasue proper diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning is almost always missed. This makes CO poisoning statistics unreliable.

A heartbreaking consequence of misdiagnosis is that a patient may be discharged and return to the same environment that continues to poison them.

When carbon monoxide deaths or serious poisonings are investigated it is not uncommon to find that victims, sometimes even several members of the same household (or location), had visited a doctor or doctors with symptoms of carbon monoxide toxicity in the days before the final accident.

It is not uncommon for significant additional damage to occur to a victim while they are actually in an emergency room or clinic with elevated levels of carbon monoxide still flowing in their blood stream.

Without proper diagnosis and/or being given oxygen to breath, cells continue to be starved of life-giving oxygen and to be poisoned. The longer unsafe levels of carbon monoxide remain in the blood, the greater the likelihood of damage causing further symptoms.

As a group, health professional don't know enough about carbon monoxide poisoning. They have a limited understanding of the subtleties, impact, and long term symptoms and effects. This commonly translates into inadequate or ineffective treatment for survivors.

Your comments about carbon monoxide poisoning...

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AM I STILL IN DANGER?
DARLENE HALL from ALABAMA
I HAVE JUST GOT OUT OF THE HOSPITAL FROM CARBON MONOXIDE. I WAS TESTED AND IT SHOWED 6.4.

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