Hyperbaric chamber needed for carbon monoxide treatment
A woman has been transfered to Moose Jaw Union Hospital and is in serious condition after being pulled from a house filled with “lethal levels” of carbon monoxide.
The woman, 26, was pulled from a rural house east of Asquith by paramedics Tuesday, according to a Warman RCMP release. A man, 29, was also found, but was declared dead on scene.
The woman was transfered to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon from the scene. She was then airlifted to Moose Jaw to receive hyperbaric treatment, said Warman RCMP Sgt. Warren Gherasim.
The hyperbaric unit at Union Hospital — the only chamber in Saskatchewan — is most often used for treating diabetic wounds and radition injuries from cancer treatments, said Mike Amies, a respiratory therapist with the hospital.
“People with diabetes have problems with blood supply to their extremities ... and radiation treatment often burns the tumor, but also burns the surrounding area, limiting blood supply ... (hyperbaric treatment) helps improve blood flow in the affected area,” he said.
The chamber can also be used to treat extreme cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, Amies said.
“We don’t treat carbon monoxide cases frequently,” said Amies. “We treat the more severe cases.”
“Carbon monoxide is a molecule that strongly attaches to red blood cells and other tissues where oxygen likes to go,” he said.
Hyperbaric chambers allow for a heavy concentration of high-pressure oxygen to be flushed into a patient’s respiratory system, effectively flooding out the carbon monoxide molecules, Amies explained.
According to Amies, the Union Hospital hyperbaric unit has treated only 46 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning over the 15 year period that it has been active.
Most of those cases were from Saskatchewan, but some have also been transported in from Manitoba, he said.
The Warman RCMP has not released the names of the individuals. Police investigation into the cause of the leak is ongoing.