Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of unintentional death, or poisoning resulting in a traumatic brain injury. If a person is exposed to too much carbon monoxide it will greatly diminish their ability to absorb oxygen, which leads to fatal or at a minimum serious brain tissue damage.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when certain household machines or appliances produce the gas as a byproduct of combustion processes. For example, a gas powered hot water heater can give off fumes that, if allowed to accumulate, may be very dangerous. An excessive amount of carbon monoxide accumulates in a poorly ventilated space, and injury often occurs without a victim knowing. The indications of carbon monoxide poisoning can be subtle but are life-threatening conditions. One should immediately seek medical care after carbon monoxide poisoning.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning according to medical literature are included but are not limited to loss of consciousness, irritability, impaired judgment, confusion, vomiting, chest pain, dizziness, weakness, serious and continuing headaches. Some individuals actually have poor memory, and began receiving treatment for posttraumatic stress disorders, or a diagnosis having depression or other chronic psychiatric conditions.
Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous if it occurs while you are sleeping or intoxicated. The exposure to the fumes can become fatal. It is highly recommended that you contact a doctor if you think you’ve been exposed.
The leading cause of the carbon monoxide poisoning is primarily inhalation of combustion fumes. Carbon monoxide takes the place of oxygen in the hemoglobin of your red blood cells. As a consequence, life sustaining oxygen rich blood fails to reach your tissues and organs.
The following is a list that includes many of the more common items in a home or dwelling that could result in carbon monoxide as a byproduct:
- Car and truck engines
- Wood burning stoves, furnaces, space heaters
- Portable generators
- Water heaters
- Charcoal grills and garage ranges
- An appliance that is not kept in good working order or is in a tight space can have carbon monoxide as a byproduct. Depending on how long someone is exposed to carbon monoxide, you can sustain permanent brain damage, cardiac damage and complications, or death.
There are tests and diagnoses that doctors can undertake which can determine the exposure. A blood sample is the easiest method. Toxic brain injury can also be diagnosed through specific and highly technical brain scans, which will help identify the extent and area of exposure in the brain.
If you feel you or one of your loved ones has been exposed to a carbon monoxide environment, immediately seek medical attention. Legal rights exist, and we would urge you to contact the experienced attorneys at WALKER MORGAN at 1-800-922-8411.