A woman whose husband and daughter died from carbon monoxide poisoning at a hotel in Ocean City, Maryland, has filed a lawsuit against the resort town and EMS workers for failing to respond to her 911 emergency call.
Yvonne Boughter, of Lebanon, Pa. filed the carbon monoxide leak lawsuit last month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland over the death of her husband, Patrick, and 10-year-old daughter, Kelly, who died on June 27, 2006 at the Days Inn Hotel on the Ocean City boardwalk.
The complaint alleges that Yvonne Boughter called 911 to request help around 9:43 a.m. after the family became sick due to a carbon monoxide leak. She provided both her room number and cell phone number in the call, but no paramedics showed.
At some point after the call, she lost consciousness and awoke four hours later to discover her husband and daughter dead. She called 911 again and EMS arrived minutes later, rescuing Yvonne and her youngest daughter, seven-year-old Morgan.
Investigation into the carbon monoxide leak at the hotel identified a disconnected water heater pipe as the source of the gas emissions. Boughter previously reached a confidential settlement agreement in March for a separate carbon monoxide lawsuit filed against the hotel, the installers and the manufacturer of the water heater.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can deprive the brain of oxygen and cause permanent brain damage or death. It is often produced by household appliances, and can build up in the air if the area is not properly ventilated.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 500 people in the U.S. die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning, and another 15,000 are hospitalized. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea and fatigue, and can be mistaken for symptoms of the flu.
An investigation into the Boughter family incident led officials to conclude that the EMS responders confused Boughter’s call with another call from a family in an adjacent room, who had also called 911. The responders were cleared of any wrong doing.
As a result of the incident, Ocean City passed a law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in all hotels, condominiums and new homes. In addition, emergency units are required to verify the specific location of an emergency call twice.