Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is the most common poison in the world today according to the CDC. Approximately 40,000 to 50,000 emergency room visits annually for all types of CO poisoning and in the US, 5,000 to 6,000 people die each year from all types of CO poisoning.
CO poisoning in the pregnant female is extremely dangerous due to the developing fetus and the increased affinity for CO by the fetal hemoglobin HgF compared to the adult hemoglobin HgA. Intrauterine exposure to CO has been associated with an increased incidence in cerebral palsy, seizure disorders and death.
Firefighters are extremely susceptible to chronic CO poisoning and The New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 356:2535-2537, June 14, 2007 Number 24 demonstrated strong correlation between CO poisoning and coronary heart disease and mortality in firefighters.
Mine workers are also at risk for CO poisoning and in 2006, the two incidents in West Virginia and Kentucky resulted in the deaths of 19 workers, accounting for 26% of the 73 U.S. mine worker fatalities in that year. 15 of the 19 deaths were related to CO poisoning.
Decompression Illness (DCI) is inclusive of Arterial Gas Embolism. DCI is broken down into three major categories. DCS Type I, DCS Type II and Pulmonary Overinflation Syndrome.
Having the capability to treat an individual who exhibits signs and symptoms of DCI whether performing recovery dive operations or at the site of a SCUBA dive is extremely beneficial. Time is of the essence when the patient’s condition warrants immediate treatment.
With combat aircraft flying at very high altitudes, the loss of cabin pressure, for whatever reason, subjects the crew to a very high possibility of getting decompression sickness. In such situations, they need to descend and land immediately. Early recompression is the best method to supply high dosages of oxygen to the pilot and the presence of a Hyperlite hyperbaric stretcher on base, one of the easiest means to achieve this, due to its small size, weight and its portability. The longer the delay in recompressing, the worse the situation may become.