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Authorities blamed for serious injury, death in hotel

New information about the events leading up to the death of an 11-year-old boy and the serious injury of his 49-year-old mother in a North Carolina hotel reveals chilling details about the case. Official reports show that the pair suffered catastrophic personal injury after they were exposed to extraordinarily high levels of carbon monoxide in the Best Western hotel in Boone, North Carolina. Shocking reports show that two other victims had died in a nearby room in a similar fashion just weeks before; still, no one was able to put the pieces together fast enough to prevent the child's death.

The two previous victims, both in their 70s, were found dead in their hotel room less than two months before the child's death. There was no indication of foul play, but it appears that the medical examiner and others may have simply attributed the pair's death to old age. Firefighters never tested for carbon monoxide at the scene, though some medics say they suspected an environmental cause for the death. The medical examiner failed to quickly identify carbon monoxide as the cause of death - even though a toxicology screen for the substance only takes about 15 minutes.

Ultimately, investigators determined that the hotel's swimming pool heating system was leaking massive amounts of the dangerous gas. That malfunction led to the three deaths and the woman's serious injury. This case underscores the fundamental difficulties within the North Carolina medical examining system, which only spends about $1 per capita on those services. In most municipalities, about $2.50 is spent per capita, providing medical examiners with better tools to do their jobs faster and more accurately.

Now, family members of the victims are trying to identify just who was responsible for the failures that led to the child's death. Relatives of the elderly victims are also expected to file a suit. In such a case, the hotel, the swimming pool manufacturers and even city authorities may be held financially responsible for the serious personal injury and death. Victims who have suffered catastrophic personal injury because of someone else's negligence deserve financial compensation, even though it may be initially difficult to determine who, exactly, is responsible for the dangerous conditions.

Source:  heraldonline.com, "New reporting into Rock Hill boy's death at N.C. hotel" Elizabeth Leland, Dec. 14, 2013

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