Saskatoon doctor recognized for response to carbon monoxide poisoning

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WATCH: A Saskatoon doctor is being called a hero after he helped save people in an apartment building from carbon monoxide poisoning. – Jan 18, 2021

It’s a situation the Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) said could’ve ended up a lot worse.

Last Thursday, Royal University Hospital (RUH) emergency physician Dr. Mark Wahba was attending to a patient. They didn’t have alarming symptoms and came in feeling dizzy and nauseous.

However, Wahba became more concerned when another member of the family was also feeling ill.

Read more: 43 people at Saskatoon apartment building treated for carbon monoxide poisoning

“(The) patient and their young child both had a headache and I thought, ‘That’s odd’. It just didn’t add up,” Wahba recalled.

Carbon monoxide poisoning wasn’t what the doctor expected, but he asked SFD to check the family’s apartment building anyway.

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He didn’t realize the magnitude of the situation that would soon unfold. First responders found extremely high levels of carbon monoxide at the Batemen Crescent apartment and evacuated the building.

Read more: Winnipeg apartment block evacuated in early morning carbon monoxide incident

SFD Chief Morgan Hackl said Wahba’s decision to call the fire department potentially saved numerous lives.

On Monday, Wahba received the SFD Award of Merit for his quick call to action.

“Your direct call, your actions, your decision to take ownership of that situation and deal with what was in front of you is commendable,” Hackl said to Wahba during a virtual presentation.

Everyone was treated in time, but the incident is one that will stick with the doctor. It’s quite literally close to home for Wahba, who lives just blocks from the impacted building.

“My son’s in class with one of the kids in that building,” Wahba said through tears.

“I had a friend, a close friend of mine who lost her brother and sister about 27 years ago to carbon monoxide poisoning,” he continued.

Read more: Lung Association of Saskatchewan warns of carbon monoxide in homes after blizzard

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Wahba added all the credit shouldn’t go to him. He said his colleagues and the first responders on the scene worked together to make sure everyone was safe.

He said it has been a tough year, so it felt good for everyone to be safe and healthy after this particular ordeal.

“We don’t always get some wins, so it is nice to win once in a while.”

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