By Anthony Ferguson, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
South Portland Maine firefighters found a mother and her young son unconscious in their apartment apparent victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. A heater used to keep warm after losing power is the presumed cause of the poisoning. Both mother and child initially received treatment at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, but subsequently were transported to a Boston hospital for treatment. Three residents of a second apartment unit complained of headaches and received care at Maine Medical Center. You can read more about the incident at South Portland Maine Mother and Young Son Poisoned by Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous, dangerous, tasteless, and odorless gas. It results from the incomplete burning of fuels that contain carbon such as fuel oil, gasoline, natural gas, kerosene, and wood. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause permanent brain damage, heart attack, and death. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to personal injury and wrongful death from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases in winter months especially during power outages when home residents use gasoline-powered generators and unvented space heaters to provide heat and electricity. A Center of Disease Control (CDC) study of the health effects of the January 1998 ice storm in Norway, Maine (population: 4738) found 101 case of carbon monoxide poisoning. The study is available at the CDC’s website – Incidents of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
Carbon monoxide detectors can provide warning of unsafe carbon monoxide levels, but based on a statewide study only 37% of Maine residents have a carbon monoxide detector. The results of the study and suggested ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning are available Steps and Precautions to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.