Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Restaurant in Rochester Hills

A carbon monoxide poisoning incident was detected in Rochester Hills after five patients came to the hospital with similar symptoms after coming from a Noodles and Company, according to The Detroit News.

An emergency room employee called authorities around 8:20 p.m. Thursday, before authorities visited the scene and detected high levels of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The fire chief said that they ventilated the restaurant and shut everything down. Two additional employees were sent to the hospital after they were displaying symptoms consistent with CO poisoning like nausea and lightheadedness.

The fire chief said that he thought they were all treated and release. He said that it was a low level of exposure, and the area manager was back to work today.

Despite the fire chief saying it was a low level of exposure, the patients still might encounter problems in the following weeks and months. In one study comparing high level and low level exposures, researchers found that outcome may be independent of severity of exposure.

The study followed a group of 256 patients, 55 with less severe and 201 with more severe CO poisoning. Of the less severe CO poisoned patients, 39 percent had cognitive sequelae, 21 percent had depression, and 30 percent anxiety at six weeks. Of the more severe CO poisoned patients, 35 percent had cognitive sequelae, 16 percent depression, and 11 percent anxiety at six weeks.

This study shows that the risk of developing cognitive sequelae after a CO poisoning is about the same in less severe and more severe CO poisoned patients.

(Chambers, Chelsea A.,Hopkins, Ramona O.,Weaver, LindellK. and Key, Colin (2008) ‘Cognitive and affective outcomes of more severe compared to less severe carbon monoxide poisoning’, Brain Injury, 22:5, 387 – 395)

The source of the poisoning stemmed from a power outage earlier Thursday. They closed the restaurant, but opened it again late afternoon when the lights came back on.

They did not realize the kitchen exhaust hood did not come back on, the fire chief said. So they started cooking until people started to get sick.

Employees were in the kitchen for three hours without proper ventilation. At 7:30 p.m., people started to get sick, and they closed the store shortly after.

When the fire chief arrived, the store was already closed and the store had a sign saying they were closed due to an equipment failure. After thorough inspections, the store was expected to reopen Friday afternoon.

It’s important for residents and business owners to install carbon monoxide detectors. It may be the only way to detect the colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas.


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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