Most patients treated after carbon monoxide exposure at Allentown day care discharged from hospital

Following medical treatment, 19 individuals, including both children and adults, who were evacuated to two hospitals affiliated with Lehigh Valley Health Network, have been discharged, as confirmed by Brian Downs, a representative of the organization. With the exception of one adult who is still being monitored, all patients from daycare centers have also been discharged, according to a spokesperson from St. Luke’s University Hospital Networks.

Captain John Christopher from the Allentown Fire Department stated that three children were transferred from the Lehigh Valley to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Andrew Miller, the head of pediatric emergency medicine at Lehigh Valley Health Network, states that the hospital would not release their status. In addition, others were also transported to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. Children who required aggressive care and hyperbaric oxygen treatment were transferred.

There were no carbon monoxide detectors at the facility. Christopher, the daycare staff, says that the kids may not initially recognize the symptoms because they were already disoriented and dropped off very early in the morning.

He stated, “Immediately, it was not apparent why you are able to somewhat perceive, so they fall asleep and frequently spend a significant amount of time there.”

He mentioned that healthcare staff were summoned to the daycare center around 7:30 a.M. On Tuesday following a notification about an unresponsive child.

“When we went to check, Christopher informed us that the levels of CO in the air were very high. He turned off the engine, got out of the car, and went to the meters to alert us. One of the monitors on our equipment started going off, alerting us to the fact that there could be a high concentration of CO in the air.”

Within the premises, Christopher’s declaration of carbon monoxide levels reaching 700 parts per million prompted an urgent evacuation of 27 students and 5 staff members. He classified the readings as a “potentially life-threatening scenario.”

Christopher stated that in the morning, patients who were stable were listed as transported. A total of 28 patients were transported to four different hospitals. Treatment and triage began immediately as the command was set up. The staff quickly started treating patients and setting up the triage command. They upgraded the scene to a mass casualty incident, bringing in EMS.

Miller stated that the carbon monoxide levels were carefully observed during the treatment of LVHN patients with pure oxygen for a minimum of four to six hours.

Miller stated that some individuals were transferred to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for more assertive medical care; however, a few of those affected had already been released by late afternoon.

In a statement, he emphasized the importance of quickly providing treatment to replace the excessive carbon monoxide (CO) in the blood with oxygen, as inhaling excessive CO is associated with long-term and acute consequences, including damage to the heart and brain.

Christopher, the fire department’s spokesperson, stated that the daycare facility did not have the required equipment for the safety and well-being of children, such as family-friendly child-care facilities and fire installation equipment. This is in reference to the recent legislation that mandates the use of carbon monoxide detectors.

The legislation, known as the Panic and Fire Act, was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on July 60, 2022, putting it into effect on the compliance-day.

According to Genesis Ortega, the communications manager for Allentown, a letter was sent to daycare facilities earlier this year regarding updates to Child Care Ordinance No. 15791, which was amended and approved by the Allentown City Council on Feb. 16, 2022.

Detectors “near each fossil fuel-burning heater or device,” which includes carbon monoxide detectors, must be installed in every home, group, and child care center as mandated by the ordinance.

Ortega mentioned that the period of adherence for that regulation stretches until October 27, 2022. Earlier this July, the facility cleared a municipal evaluation.

The city’s Standards and Buildings office also labeled the center as an “Unsafe Structure,” indicating that the daycare facility was already in compliance with additional ordinances. On Tuesday, in the middle of the day, the Health Bureau of the city posted a ‘Notice of Suspension’ on the front door of the facility, along with the relevant documents.

Ortega stated that the city is refraining from disclosing further details in the ongoing inquiry because those infractions are unrelated to carbon monoxide detectors.

A message left with the phone number of the center was not replied to.

Joseph Swope, manager responsible for media relations at UGI, stated that there was no gas leakage at the establishment.

We conducted a thorough investigation of the unit’s heating system, which was found to have a blocked venting system and a malfunctioning heating unit, leading to the generation of carbon monoxide. As a result, the heating unit was red-tagged and the gas supply was shut off. We were unable to make any repairs until the unit’s back was turned on.

Exposure to carbon monoxide is considered “hazardous” when levels exceed 101 parts per million in the presence of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, as stated by Kidde, a prominent producer of fire safety items. According to Kidde’s website, exposure to levels similar to those found in the day care center would result in feelings of lightheadedness, queasiness, and seizures within 45 minutes. If exposed for several hours, the situation could become life-threatening.