Hospital staff with one of the patients
Hospital staff with one of the patients Hadassah Hospital

Jerusalem’s mid-winter temperatures dropped. The old stone buildings made it even colder. The Youssef family - mom, dad and daughter - decided to light a charcoal grill in their living room to warm themselves.

At first the barbecue did the intended job, and the family members fell asleep in the now-cozy lounge.

They awoke a couple of hours later to thick smoke, severe dizziness, chest pain and intermittent loss of consciousness.

Family members took them to Hadassah Mount Scopus' ER, where Dr. Nour Abassi oversaw their treatment including giving them 100-percent oxygen. An ambulance ferried two of the family to Hadassah Ein Kerem, where a team placed them in a hyperbaric chamber. The atmospheric pressure was two to three times that in nature, allowing the lungs to take in much more oxygen than at normal air pressure. Their condition stabilized after the procedure.

Staff at Hadassah say grill-related smoke inhalation is not uncommon, particularly in poorer areas, where people can’t afford year-round heating solutions.

“It’s important that the public knows that heating a home with a charcoal barbecue can cause carbon monoxide poisoning,” says Mount Scopus ER Director Dr. Shaden Salameh-Youssef. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my staff in the Department of Emergency Medicine who continue to work with dedication to save lives alongside their treatment of corona patients.”