With children at home it is important to take many precautionary measures to ensure their safety. From keeping the kids away from electrical items to fire, it is crucial for the parents to keep an eye on the kids and their daily activities. Accidents can occur if these precautions are taken lightly or neglected. In such cases, taking quick action can save lives. One such case is of Akriti (name changed), a 14-year-old girl who got exposed to toxic gas poisoning recently.
Akriti had gone to take a shower and had not come out for a long time. Alarmed by this, her parents started calling her and when there was no response, they broke open the door and found her lying unconscious. She was then immediately rushed to the emergency room at Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield. Doctors instantly attended to Akriti and all the resuscitative measures were begun.
Talking about the incident, Dr. Senthil Kumar SP, Consultant Paediatric, Neonatal & Cardiac Intensivist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield said, “The child was unconscious when she was brought to the emergency room and she was convulsing continuously. Initially, we thought that the fits could be due to seizure disorder or an intracranial or cardiac pathology. But after we did a blood gas analysis with a co-oximeter and we found that there was a very high content of carbon monoxide in her blood. Parents later confirmed that they were using liquid petroleum gas geyser in the bathroom and were unaware of the possible contamination by toxic gases while using LPG gas geyser”.
“We were able to start the procedures immediately which avoided significant hypoxic injury in the brain which could otherwise have resulted in long-term neurological disability. The child was revived by giving high flow oxygen, fluid bolus, anti-convulsants and other supportive medications” he added. In many parts of India, LPG geysers are still in use as it is more economical as compared to electrical geysers. The LPG contains Butane and propane, which on combustion produces carbon dioxide and water. But when there is a lack of oxygen, it produces carbon monoxide instead, which is a highly toxic gas.
Dr. Surendar S, Consultant Emergency Department, Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield who has attended similar cases in adults said, “They were brought to the emergency department with symptoms like headache, seizures, altered sensorium, unresponsiveness which later diagnosed as toxic carbon monoxide inhalation from the gas geyser with the help of co-oximeter studies. All the patients were treated with oxygen Therapy, IV Fluids and supportive measures.” After all the necessary procedures, Akriti was discharged and is currently stable and recovering. Talking about the response from the hospital Akriti’s mother said, “We are extremely thankful to the doctors at Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield for the timely treatment. We were shattered to see our daughter’s condition and did not know what to do. Doctors attended Akriti immediately and the treatment saved her life”.
In case you come across a case of gas poisoning, below are some of the first aid measures to be taken immediately:
- Take the person away from the site of gas poisoning to a well-ventilated area.
- Turn off the source of leakage without harming yourself.
- Take the person to the hospital without wasting any time (do not waste time in home measures to tackle carbon monoxide poisoning)
- If the person is unresponsive, start basic life support technique (CPR).