One Potomac woman and four Northern Virginia women, who would have started as sophomores at Virginia Tech last week, were released from their respective hospitals after receiving treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carolyn Dorman, a 2006 graduate of Walt Whitman High School, was released from Duke University Medical Center last week, along with Elizabeth Burgin, 19, from Ashburn, Va., and Nichole Howarth, 19, of Chesterfield, Va.
Kristin Julia, 19, of Ashburn, Va., and Kirsten Halik, 19, of Vienna, Va., were released from the University of Virginia Health Systems in Charlottesville, where both women had been treated since Aug. 19, spokesperson Megan Rowe said.
Before being released both women were upgraded to good condition, with stable vital signs.
Julia and Burgin graduated from Stone Bridge High School (Ashburn, Va.) in 2006. Halik is a 2006 graduate of James Madison High School (Vienna, Va.).
The five women were hospitalized after being exposed to carbon monoxide in an off-campus Blacksburg apartment. They were discovered unresponsive in their beds at the Collegiate Suites complex by a technician from a local gas company, Capt. Bruce Bradbery of the Blacksburg Police said at the time of the incident. The carbon monoxide was the result of a continuing burning gas fire that occurred in the apartment’s hot water heater. In total 23 people in the apartment complex were affected by the toxin.
Burgin, Dorman and Howarth were all given treatments in Duke University’s hyperbaric chambers, but no official word has confirmed if Julia and Halik received the oxygen treatment at the University of Virginia. The chamber pressure is at three atmospheres (the Earth is only one atmosphere) and gives the patient high-pressured oxygen, which helps move the toxin through the victim’s system faster, Dr. Chris Holstege, a clinical toxicologist at University of Virginia Health System, said.
An investigation into the carbon monoxide poisoning is ongoing.
<1b>— Erika Jacobson