Antioch police and firefighter/paramedics responded 6:00 AM Monday to a carbon monoxide (CO) incident in the block of 1100 Bowles Rd Antioch, IL. Fire command ordered a Life Safety Box at the address and requested medical helicopter transport for at least two victims. Two medical helicopters were disptached — one from University of Chicago, and one from LifeStar, which is based at Loyola University Medical Center or the Joliet area — according to their website.
The danger was discovered when a boyfriend of a 22-year-old daughter of the family arrived at his girlfriend’s house about 5:55 a.m. They had spoken earlier, and the girl told him that she was feeling sick and was vomiting. When the boyfriend arrived, he saw that his girlfriend’s father was passed out on the floor. He called 9-1-1. Firefighters forcibly entered the home and found three more people and the family dog — all unconscious. All were evacuated, and all were revived. Two victims were transported to St. Catherine’s Hospital in Kenosha, Wisconsin; and two victims were transported to Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha County.
The family’s 13-year-old daughter was transferred by medical helicopter from St. Catherine’s to Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to force the carbon monoxide out of her blood and to increase the amount of oxygen that can be dissolved in her blood plasma.
The dog was transported to an animal hospital.
No smoke detectors were discovered inside the home, but firefighter equipment measured a high level of carbon monoxide at about 600 part per million. Carbon monoxide at 400 ppm is considered life-threatening after three hours of exposure. Levels of 1500 ppm are considered immediately dangerous to health, with death possible within one hour of exposure.
Home-installed carbon monoxide (CO) detectors will activate in a few minutes at 400 ppm. At lower concentrations, alarms might not activate for ten, twenty or thirty minutes. Some detectors activate when 40-70 ppm or more are detected. Some alarms are set to activate after 30 minutes at 100 ppm, and after 10 minutes at 200 ppm.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas, which can cause sudden illness and death. CO building up in a house and poisoning can result from a malfunctioning furnace and ventilation, a fire, or a vehicle running inside a garage; or CO buildup inside a running vehicle can occur while the exhaust is blocked.
A faulty boiler is suspected to be the source of the carbon monoxide at the Antioch home, but the cause is still under investigation.
Aurora Medical Center is known to have a Hyperbaric Chamber for the treatment of acute carbon monoxide poisoning. There is no confirmation whether any of the other victims received any hyperbaric treatment.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is known as an advanced therapy for acute carbon monoxide poisoning. Medical hyperbaric oxygen therapy delivers a carefully managed dosage of pressure and pure oxygen over a prescribed period of time. Treatment periods are called “dives” as HBOT is also used to treat decompression sickness or “the bends” which can occur when divers rise to the water surface too quickly.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is delivered in a chamber pressurized at 1.4 to 3.5 times the normal sea-level atmospheric pressure of 14.696 pounds per square inch.
CO locks out oxygen from its normal function of transport via hemoglobin.
Under higher pressures, (hyperbaric), oxygen dissolves in the blood plasma, and has a better chance of getting back to normal binding with hemoglobin for transport to to all body tissues that is necessary for life. Breathing pure oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood, and is used to counter the harmful binding effects of CO on hemoglobin.
Several hospitals in the area have hyperbaric chambers, including Level I Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital.
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