BY DAN HATLESTAD, BA EMT-I ON OCT 1, 2005
Your ambulance is dispatched to a 42-year-old man following a syncopal episode. Over the weekend, he has had a headache, chills, nausea and dizziness -common flu-like symptoms. The patient is treated and transported to a local emergency department, where he is given intravenous hydration and is discharged neurologically intact with normal vital signs. Two days later, you are dispatched to the same address, where you find the patient unconscious on his living room floor. Following aggressive airway management, oxygenation and ventilation, the patient is transported to the ED, where he is diagnosed with carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. He is treated with hyperbaric oxygen, and is discharged with chronic headaches and memory problems. After returning to his home two days earlier, he had again been exposed to CO from a faulty furnace, which caused permanent neurologic deficits.