Embrace the practice of monitoring for CO...in patients and responders
I talk about carbon monoxide and cyanide quite a bit in this blog and on the podcast. I also get several emails after each CO and cyanide post telling me how boring the topic is, telling me that the CO thing has been "done.." and we don't need to keep going over it. I also get some flack from those who don't want to hear about non-invasive monitoring (ie monitoring for CO levels in patients). In fact, the most often (over)used comment is: "using a CO monitoring device on a patient is a waste...we're going to take them to the hospital anyway..."
There have been four significant carbon monoxide events within the last three months here in Rochester, NY. Two deaths, numerous serious illnesses, and an evacuation of a nursing home. I wonder how many low-level chronic exposures are going undetected? Chronic exposure to CO has been linked to cardiovascular events and often misdiagnosed as cold or flu. Responders are also at risk...not just at fire events...but working in any environment. Why do responders and administrators continue to ignore the technology and the practice that may allow for rapid screening and detection of occult CO exposure?
After all, we're going to take the person with headache, nausea, or vomiting (signs of exposure) to the hospital anyway...so why bother? Good point.
Lets look at it this way:
Why bother doing an ECG or 12-lead on a patient with chest pressure and shortness of breath (signs of a cardiac event)?...after all, we're going to take them to the hospital anyway...