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Va. Tech Students Could Be Released From Duke Tuesday

Posted August 20, 2007

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— Three Virginia Tech students taken to Duke University Medical Center for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning were alert, talking and walking Monday and could be released as early as Tuesday.

Dr. Bret Stolp said the three – all 19-year-old sophomores whose names were not released – were in good condition and would receive a third hyperbaric oxygen treatment before going home Tuesday or Wednesday.

"They all perked up," Stolp said of the patients after a treatment in the hyperbaric chamber. "They all repeated to me they felt much more alert. They could think more clearly, function better, and they seemed more coordinated."

The hyperbaric – or high-pressure – chamber is filled with 100 percent oxygen and is the equivalent of being 60 feet under water, Stolp said. The pressure forces the oxygen into the patients' blood and drives out the carbon monoxide that had taken its place.

The three were rushed to Duke Sunday morning after 23 people were sickened by carbon monoxide poisoning at an off-campus apartment complex in Blacksburg, Va.

Two people remained in critical condition at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville.

"This was very heavy exposure," said Stolp, a hyperbaric specialist at Duke. "They had very high levels of carbon dioxide" in their blood.

News of the poisoning came as the university was preparing a memorial in honor of the 27 students and five faculty members whom student gunman Seung-Hui Cho killed April 26.

A Springfield, Va., woman whose daughter was killed in last spring's shootings on the Virginia Tech campus endured a new terror with the latest incident. Her younger daughter had just moved into the complex, but she was not injured.


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  • Shug Aug 20, 2007

    Thank goodness it look like they will be OK. What an ordeal for that mom. I can't imagine.

  • VTHokieinNC Aug 20, 2007

    Wishing all of them a speedy recovery!

  • SaveEnergyMan Aug 20, 2007

    This reminds all of us that with colder air arriving soon (ooh that sounds so good right now) that carbon monoxide is a dangerous, silent killer. Everyone with an appliance that burns gas or oil should invest in a CO detector (about $40 at Lowes or Home Depot). This includes furnaces, water heaters, stoves, or fireplaces. It acts just like a smoke detector, only for CO. It sounds an alarm BEFORE it is too late. Best wishes to the VT students for a speedy recovery.

  • Supie Aug 20, 2007

    "anneonymousone" writes: "Rather than blaming VT or just shaking our heads at bad luck,"

    fyi, the apartment these young women were living in was off campus. Apparently the fault was with a seal on the hot water heater.

  • Tired Of Excuses Aug 20, 2007

    Carbon monoxide poisioning is deadly. These VT student were very fortunate. I hope the two in critical condition will pull through.

  • Tarheeljunior Aug 20, 2007

    Thank goodness for prompt medical care for these students! Feel better!

  • anneonymousone Aug 20, 2007

    Rather than blaming VT or just shaking our heads at bad luck, let's use this opportunity to raise awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning and basic home safety. (gotta go buy a fire extinguisher now...)

    And, yes, let's think kind thoughts for people who have been through too much hell lately.

  • jewel08 Aug 20, 2007

    My prayers go to the students and their families that this year will be one without further incidents. They deserve peace.