Shortly after returning from their honeymoon, newlyweds Jilna and Jay Patel woke up feeling unwell in their apartment on a Sunday morning in September 2015.

Jilna felt lightheaded and dizzy, and collapsed in the bathroom. When she called out to him for help, Jay woke up with a severe headache and neck pain. Jay called an ambulance and they were admitted to a local hospital. After several hours of tests, they were both discharged after doctors could not find out what was wrong.

The next day, Jilna collapsed once again shortly after waking up in the lounge, with no strength to move or call out to her husband, Jilna phoned her mum for help from her mobile that she had in her pocket and advised Jilna to call 111. When Jay was awoken by the call, his neck pain and headache were unbearable.

Following some quick thinking from attending paramedics, specialist paramedics were called out and in minutes confirmed the building was ridden with carbon monoxide. The couple was blue lighted to a specialist hospital in East London, where they were treated for severe carbon monoxide poisoning. A CO response unit was called to measure the amount of CO in the their block of apartments and the neighbouring building. The residents of 12 apartments were evacuated as an emergency measure and all gas supplies were switched off.

A man was discovered dead in the apartment underneath the couple’s, and it’s believed that a faulty gas heater, possibly switched on for the first time after the summer, was to blame, after the gas seeped up through an open chimney vent which was left open for damp reasons. Living on his own for the past 30 years, it’s thought that the gentlemen had lain undiscovered for four days, and with the amount of carbon monoxide recorded he would have been dead within 20 minutes.

The couple spent two days in a specialist hospital where they underwent three courses of hyperbaric oxygen treatment before they were discharged. Jilna received 10 further sessions of oxygen treatment after experiencing problems with her hearing.

Still suffering from effects now, Jilna has been diagnosed with hyperacusis, which causes the brain to amplify sounds much louder than normal. This has had a significant impact on day-to-day life, both at work and social events, and Jilna has also experienced some short-term memory loss. Thankfully, Jay made a full recovery after a number of weeks.

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