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Severe hydrogen sulfide exposure in a working adolescent

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H.E. Nikkanen; M.M. Burns


We describe an occupational exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas in a 16-year-old boy. While cleaning the reoxygenation tank of a fish hatchery, he and an adult supervisor lost consciousness. The adult died, and the adolescent regained consciousness briefly when emergency medical services personnel administered oxygen. At a local emergency department, he was intubated for respiratory distress. He was transferred to a tertiary care facility for additional management and, over the next 2 weeks, had a recovery to normal function. Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, malodorous gas that results from the decay of organic material. It is a byproduct of industry and agriculture. The mechanism of its toxicity is related primarily to inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation, which causes a decrease in available cellular energy. Although there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that the early use of hyperbaric oxygen is beneficial, supportive care remains the mainstay of therapy. This report highlights the sources of exposure, management, and need for more stringent application of safety regulations in industries in which adolescents are employed.






Times Cited: 15 15



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