06/21/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Boca Raton, FL—Carbon monoxide (CO) was deemed the culprit responsible for the death of an elderly man on Saturday morning, June 19, 2010, in a residence west of Boca Raton, Florida. Six others were hospitalized after they too suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to information provided by the Palm Beach Post.

Hyman Hal Portnoy, 89, and his 87-year-old wife Elaine Sommer-Portnoy woke up at approximately 3:30 a.m. after becoming inexplicably ill in the middle of the night. They subsequently called their health care worker, who reported to their home in the 4800 block of Bocaire Boulevard shortly after.

Upon arriving at the house, the health care worker checked the garage, concluding that both cars were turned off. Around 8:30 a.m., a replacement health care worker arrived at the home.

Within about an hour’s time, everyone in the house felt the effects of the invisible poison. Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue paramedics were then called to the scene.

The paramedics apparently became nauseated after being in the home for a mere 10 minutes. They seemingly evacuated the home after identifying the issue as CO poisoning.

According to fire-rescue Capt. Don DeLucia, “The levels were high… Just walking into it they started getting sick… If there was a carbon monoxide detector, we wouldn’t have had the incident we had… They’re not expensive and are as valuable as a smoke detector.”

The elderly residents were transported to Delray Medical Center where Hyman Portnoy was eventually pronounced dead. Sommer-Portnoy was transferred to St. Mary’s Medical Center in critical condition.

Five additional victims, including health care workers and fire-rescue paramedics, were taken to West Boca Medical Center to be treated. They were expected to be OK.

One day prior to the incident, Hyman Portnoy drove his Lincoln vehicle to get a haircut. When he returned to his home later that day, he apparently forgot to turn his car off.

By the time the health care worker checked the garage at 3:30 a.m. Saturday, the car had already ran out of gas, leading the caretaker to believe there was nothing wrong.

Carbon monoxide is known to cause an array of symptoms, including “fatigue, weakness, chest pains for those with heart disease, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, lack of coordination, impaired vision, loss of consciousness and death”.

When inhaled, carbon dioxide overpowers and inevitably replaces the oxygen in the blood. This can cause victims to suffocate, sending them into cardiac arrest.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Florida Personal Injury Lawyers.

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