Long Island

Pediatrician Saves NY Family From Potential Death Trap After Call Over These Symptoms

All of a sudden, they were experiencing flu-like symptoms and had trouble standing -- and walking. The mother called the family pediatrician

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A carbon monoxide scare inside a Long Island home sent 11 people, including four children, to the hospital — but it could have been much worse, even deadly, had it not been for the forethought heroics of the family's pediatrician who stepped in and likely saved their lives.

The incident occurred inside a house in East Meadow Monday night after a suspected carbon monoxide leak in the basement of the Buchanan Road home. There was a large response from the fire department, and 11 people had to be helped out, the youngest of whom is just 3 weeks old.

Several were rushed to area hospitals, and the Nassau County fire marshal said he does not believe there were working carbon monoxide detectors.

"Your home carbon monoxide detectors usually alert between 30 and 50 ppm. That gives you enough time to hear it and react to it," said Chief Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro.

The readings in the basement were the highest, which is why Uttaro believes the leak started there. At 1450 ppm, even a short exposure could have been deadly.

Before learning of the leak, the family started to feeling ill, so they called their pediatrician, Dr. John Zaso. They told the doctor that they all had flu-like symptoms and had trouble standing and walking. That call may have saved them.

"The message was the entire family had come down and become sick all at once, they had headaches dizziness and trouble walking," said Dr. Zaso, who also serves as the EMS director for the East Meadow Fire Department.

He immediately knew what was wrong.

"When I heard that the bells in my head went off, right away I said, 'Everyone open the windows get out of the house and call 911,'" Dr. Zaso said. "Everyone would have been doing a very different story this morning if they didn’t call. They would not have woken up."

All of those who fell ill are expected to recover. Family members who left the home did not wish to talk with reporters on Tuesday.

Officials said that the incident serves as a good reminder to all families to make sure they have working carbon monoxide detectors — because it could be the difference between life and death.

"It really was a great save, and it's a great example of a very alert doctor and quick-responding fire department and hopefully a happy ending," Uttaro said.

The source of the carbon monoxide leak is being investigated.

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