The 10-year-old girl in the Linden, NJ carbon monoxide poisoning tragedy, Emike Asekomhe, is still in “extremely critical condition” at Newark Beth Israel Hospital. Her 9-year-old brother died after both were found unconscious by their mother at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 3rd.

The mother has stayed by the girl’s side in the hospital. The town is hosting a candlelight vigil Saturday, May 7th in Dorothy Ford Park. It is not known whether or not the girl received hyperbaric-oxygen treatment.

The hyperbaric-oxygen treatment reduces the degree of problems in secondary conditions resulting from the poisoning. The normal oxygen treatment will see more secondary problems. These delayed symptoms are sometimes called Delayed Neurological Sequelae and can range from memory problems to seizures to visual problems.

The important aspect to remember about treating carbon monoxide poisoning is the follow-up. Scheduling follow-up visits with specialists and neurologists is essential to take care of the delayed symptoms from the poisoning. Otherwise these symptoms will go untreated.

Giuseppe Pepe and colleagues at Careggi University General Hospital in Florence, Italy published a 2011 study called “Delayed neuropsychological sequelae after carbon monoxide poisoning: predictive risk factors in the Emergency Department. A retrospective study.” The study stated that DNS usually occurs after recovery from acute carbon monoxide poisoning. Early recognition of patients at risk for DNS in the emergency department may help with the quality of care provided. The researchers looked at past emergency department visits to research predictive risk factors for DNS development.

The researchers studied all patients admitted to the emergency department for CO poisoning at Careggi University General Hospital from 1992 to 2007. Patients were asked to come to three follow-up appointments at one, six, and twelve months. They then analyzed the data to study the risk factors for DNS.

Of the 347 patients admitted to the emergency department for CO poisoning from 1992 to 2007, 141 took part in a follow-up visit after one month. Twenty-four percent of those were diagnosed with DNS.

No significant correlation was found with sex, headache, transient loss of consciousness (blackouts), Glasgow Coma Scale between 14 and 9, and arterial lactate. The study developed risk factors for DNS and also emphasized that adequate patient follow-up is necessary and more research should be done in this area.

DNS can occur in the weeks or months following the actual carbon monoxide poisoning. Initial symptoms of acute carbon monoxide poisoning may include headaches, nausea, malaise, and fatigue. The symptoms following the poisoning must also be tended to. These delayed neurological symptoms may include difficulty with higher intellectual functions, short-term memory loss, dementia, amnesia, psychosis, irritability, a strange gait, speech disturbances, Parkinson’s disease-like syndromes, cortical blindness, and a depressed mood.

It is important to schedule follow-up visits to check up on the possible delayed neurological sequelae. Early identification of risk factors may also improve care. This is going to be true in the Linden, NJ carbon monoxide poisoning tragedy. For those with DNS, the symptoms can be treated, and a full recovery is possible.

Linden, New Jersey Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Leaves One Child Dead

Attorney Gordon Johnson


A young boy is dead and his sister is in critical condition after the Linden, New Jersey carbon monoxide poisoning tragedy. While a carbon monoxide detector was installed in the home, it didn’t warn the family. The 9-year-old boy was pronounced dead shortly after the event, and his 10-year-old sister was taken to the hospital and transferred to a different hospital for specialized treatment.

When I read the article about this boy and his sister online at NBC New York, my first area of concern was the condition of the sister. Treating carbon monoxide poisoning with hyperbaric oxygen significantly reduces the cognitive sequelae (conditions resulting from an injury). In Dr. Lindell K. Weaver’s study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, “Hyperbaric Oxygen for Acute Carbon Monoxide Poisoning,” published in 2002, the group treated with hyperbaric oxygen saw much less frequent cognitive sequelae (25 percent) than in the normobaric oxygen group (46.1 percent.) Hyperbaric oxygen is pressurized to 2 or 3 atmospheres absolute. Normobaric oxygen is pressurized to 1 atmosphere absolute. In other words, those who just get oxygen through a mask will have more trouble than those who get treated in the hyperbaric chamber.

Those with brain damage after carbon monoxide poisoning make up the majority of our practice today, and we have found remarkable differences in the outcomes of those who get hyperbaric oxygen treatment and those who don’t. The biggest difference is in the degree of problems with secondary issues that occur after the effect of hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) has worn off. The condition is called Delayed Neurological Sequelae and the problems worsen from day 1 to day 60 after the carbon monoxide poisoning occurs.

Tomorrow we will talk about the nature of those complications in our followup blog for concerns that may linger with the survivor of this Linden, New Jersey carbon monoxide poisoning incident.

A new study has discovered a pretty disturbing, deadly fact: The lethal gas carbon monoxide can pass through gypsum wallboard, better known as drywall. Simply put, your home’s own walls won’t protect you from the poisonous gas that could filter in from a neighbor’s apartment.

That’s the topic of a story Forbes published Tuesday headlined “Carbon Monoxide, A Silent Killer: Are You Safe?’ Apparently, you often are not. The article is a fine primer on the dangers of CO poisoning, and talks about the implications and issues that arise out of the new research.

The story cited a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). That research  determined that carbon monoxide passes through drywall, the apparently quite porous material typically used as walls and ceiling in homes.

Here is the summary of the research that JAMAs provided

“Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a significant U.S. health problem, responsible for approximately 500 accidental deaths annually,1 and a risk of 18% to 35% for cognitive brain injury 1 year after poisoning.2 Most morbidity and mortality from CO poisoning is believed to be preventable through public education and CO alarm use.

States have been enacting legislation mandating residential CO alarm installation.3 However, as of December 2012, 10 of the 25 states with statutes mandating CO alarms exempted homes without fuel-burning appliances or attached garages, believing that without an internal CO source, risk is eliminated. This may not be true if CO diffuses directly through wallboard material.”

The Forbes story quoted the JAMA study’s lead author, who explained that in a multi-family building, one of your neighbors could foolishly bring a charcoal grill inside to their own apartment, for example. The carbon monoxide from that grill could infiltrate your apartment by passing through the drywall, and if you are exempt from having a CO detector under your state’s law, you could sustain carbon monoxide poisoning.

That why some of the experts in the Forbes story say that state laws should require all homes to have CO detectors, not just residences with gas stoves and fireplaces or an attached garage where a car could be left idling, according to Forbes. As one expert said, once the gas is in a building it can go from unit to unit.

Forbes cited a case in a county in North Carolina, which required most houses to have CO detectors, but exempted all-electric residences that didn’t have attached garages. Alarms that were powered by electricity alone were  also permitted.

Months later, when an ice storm knocked out power for nine days, there were 124 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in the county, Forbes said. And roughly 96 percent of the “severe” poisonings happened in homes that didn’t have a functioning CO detector.

As a result, the North Carolina county changed its ordinance to mandate carbon monoxide detectors in all homes, and that the devices installed had to have a back-up battery system, according to Forbes.

The Centers for Disease Control also offered its own scary fact: That just 30 percent of U.S. homes have working carbon monoxide detectors.

Perhaps even worse, according to Forbes, is that some folks mistakenly believe that their smoke detectors also act as carbon monoxide alarms.

The Forbes story also addressed an issue that I’ve written many blogs about, namely carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels. When you are traveling, you should proactively protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning by bringing a portable carbon monoxide detector with you, Forbes suggested.

It’s good advice. Such CO alarms can be purchased in hardware stores, and are small and relatively cheap, according to Forbes.

One person was killed and 16 suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning at a packing facility at a North Carolina farm Friday night, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.

EMTs arrived at Norton Creek Farms in Franklin, N.C., about 7 p.m. Friday, where they found two workers who were unresponsive. The two were discovered in a refrigerated house where fruits and vegetables are kept, the Citizen-Times reported.

One of those workers suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead at Angel Medical Center in Franklin, while the other worker was airlifted to Greenville Memorial Hospital, condition unknown.

Four witnesses who tried to help at the scene were overcome by the carbon monoxide, whose source is under investigation. In addition, 11 people from the Macon County Sheriff’s Department and local fire departments also got ill from their exposure to the lethal gas, according to the Citizen-Times.

Many of them were dizzy and vomiting, and they were taken to Angel Medical.

The owner of a Kingsport, Tenn., automobile paint shop — known for appearing in local commercials — was found suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning Friday morning at his business, according to the Times News.

Bill McConnell was taken from his establishment, Bill McConnell Paint and Body Shop, to Holston Valley Medical Center, where he was in stable condition. A dog that McConnell kept on his premises was killed by the carbon monoxide that sickened McConnell.

A little bit before 8 a.m. an employee found McConnell mumbling, and that he had had also vomited, the Times News reported. McConnell sometimes stayed overnight at his shop because he lived out of state, the paper said.

EMTs were called to the scene, and apparently at that point McConnell was more coherent.

The Kingsport Fire Department suspected that the source of the carbon monoxide was “gas-powered equipment in the garage area, which was not burning off property,” the Times News wrote. The entire building had to be fully ventilated.





Unfortunately, the United States isn’t the only country where guests are being killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels.

There has been some legal resolution over the deaths of Christianne Shepherd, 7, and her brother Robert, 6, who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning in October 2006 in a hotel in Corfu, Greece. According to Travel Weekly UK, the British kids died when a gas boiler used to heat water for their room malfunctioned, sending the deadly gas into their quarters at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel.

Now a judge had ruled that tour operator Thomas Cook wasn’t liable for the tragic accident, and ordered the hotel to pay interim damages to Cook of 1 million pounds, Travel Weekly UK reported.

Cook is seeking 5 million pounds in damages, for expenses it paid as a result of the accidental deaths, including legal fees for two of its employees who were originally charged with manslaughter in Greece. One of those workers was acquitted and charges were dropped against the other one.

Three employees of the hotel, including its manager at the time of the deaths, were convicted of manslaughter in Greece and received 7-year sentences, according to Travel Weekly UK.

The hotel’s owner has already reached a settlement with the parents of the children that were killed, Sharon Wood and Neil Shepherd. But Wood told BBC News that she was blindsided by Cook’s action against the Louis hotel.

Wood said that she wasn’t aware that Cook had taken legal action against the hotel, and had she known she wouldn’t have accepted a settlement from the hotel that was less than the interim payment that the tour operator has just received, according to BBC News.

She noted that it had been a big financial burden to spend several years traveling to Greece for legal proceedings relating to the deaths of her children.

Three people in Falls Church, Va., had to be hospitalized Wednesday for carbon monoxide poisoning after a faulty furnace leaked the lethal gas, according to WTOP-TV. Their apartment building was evacuated.

Fairfax County EMTs were called to the Baileys Crossroads apartment building at Malibu Circle at 2:30 a.m., the TV station reported. Several of the residents has symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, including nausea and dizziness.

A man and woman were taken to INOVA Fairfax Hospital, while another man was sent to Arlington Hospital. Authorities told WTOP-TV that the three were going to recover.

Residents in the apartment building were evacuated after firefighters tested and found dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. The building was ventilated, WTOP-TV said.

Workers from Washington Gas were called to the scene and found that a faulty furnace was the source of the carbon monoxide.


A coroner confirmed Monday that a young Indiana couple found in their house on the Fourth of July died of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Associated Press.–Couple-Found-Dead

Mitchell Rider, 28, and Jamie Hooker, 28, were found by Rider’s father, who also discovered that there was a car left running in their garage, AP reported.

Elkhart County Coroner John White said that tests found that the victims had more than 80 percent carbon monoxide in their blood, when a mere 40 percent is toxic, according to AP.

Authorities are still investigating the deaths.


A 95-year-old Pennsylvania man was found dead, and his sister was rendered unconscious, due to carbon monoxide fumes from a car left running in their garage, according to KDKA.

The tragedy happened Saturday night in Baldwin, Pa., in a home that the elderly brother and sister shared.

The body of the victim, Jack Skerba, was discovered in the upstairs of the home, KDKA reported. An autopsy was set to be performed on his body Sunday,

The sister was hospitalized, but is expected to recover, KDKA said.


Police in North Carolina have broadened their investigation the deaths of  three guests of carbon monoxide poisoning at a hotel, now looking at two additional hotels owned by the same company, according to WRAL.

Authorities in Boone, N.C., said that their probe of the April 16 deaths of Daryl Jenkins and his wife Shirley Mae, and the June 8 death of Jeffrey Williams, 11, will continue into July, the TV station reported. The three victims died after staying in the same room at the Best Western Blue Ridge Plaza. The hotel has been closed since Williams’ death.

AJD Investments owns the Best Western as well as the Sleep Inn and Country Inns & Suites in Boone, and all three hotels are managed by Appalachian Hospitality Management, WRAL reported.

Police are now collecting records from the Sleep Inn and Country Inns, and questioning employees at both establishments. That’s because all three hotels shared workers and equipment, according to WRAL.

Once police finish their investigation, they will submit their findings to the local district attorney to see if criminal charges should be brought.

Authorities blame a malfunctioning pool heater for releasing fatal doses of carbon monoxide at the Best Western. The Watauga County Medical Examiner has resigned over his handling, or alleged mishandling, of the three deaths at the hotel.

He didn’t look at the bodies of the three victims at the scene, and didn’t order expedited tests to confirm that the first two people, the elderly married couple, had died of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to WRAL. Then the hotel still rented out the room where they had died, leading to the death of Williams and injury to his mother, Jeannie Williams.

Because of the carbon monoxide she breathed in, and rendered her unconscious, the woman can only walk using a walker, and she is trying to get back the full use of her arms and legs, WRAL reported.