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Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, poisonous, non-irritating gas which is the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the US (3,500-4,000 deaths annually). An additional 10,000 people have to miss a day of work or require medical attention. Two-thirds of the deaths are caused by fires and the rest by car exhaust and faulty heating equipment. Carbon monoxide poisoning is easily misdiagnosed. In one case, five members of a family went to the doctor and even questioned him about the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. The doctor insisted they had the flu and sent them home where they all died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may be similar to the flu or food poisoning such as headache, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, weakness and difficulty breathing. Continued lack of treatment leads to coma, convulsions and death. Blood carboxyhemoglobin concentrations are not always an accurate test of the presence of the condition. If a person suspects carbon monoxide poisoning he should insist further investigation by a professional, preferably by one who has had experience with diagnosing and treating the condition.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by kcbd
About: Carbon monoxide misdiagnosis kills family of five
Date: 28 December 2004
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