MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota man is sharing his near-death story with the hope others will protect themselves from a silent killer.

Carbon monoxide poisoned Michael Thetreau and three other fisherman in an ice house on Leech Lake in northern Minnesota last weekend. Jaren Johnson, 34, died. Emergency crews rushed Michael and two other men to the hospital.

“I don’t remember a whole lot of the situation,” said Michael Thetreau who was treated at Hennepin County Medical Center for carbon monoxide poisoning

Michael Thereau never thought his weekend fishing trip would end in a hospital room at HCMC with his ability to walk, temporarily gone.

“I can lift this leg up but I can’t do it with this leg. It just won’t,” Thetreau said. “My legs don’t function right, right now, and I’ve gotta got to more therapy.”

Michael didn’t see, smell, or taste the carbon monoxide, and neither did the three others in the ice house on Leech Lake.

“I remember we were all fine. We were eating chili and watched football and I think we laid down to go to sleep,” he said. “I remember we laid down to go to sleep and, the next thing I know, I woke up and was here. I don’t remember the life flight or none of the laying on the ice or none of the medical responders coming to the lake.”

34-year-old Jared Johnson never woke up. Michael almost shared the same fate.

“I guess my buddy said when they pulled me out of there I was drooling and foaming at the mouth. Like I say, I’m lucky to be here,” Thetreau said.

Doctors at HCMC rushed him into the hyperbaric chamber for treatment. Over the next 24 hours he received three treatments of oxygen in the pressurized chamber.

“He was very sick. He was critically ill from carbon monoxide poisoning but now he’s doing much better,” said Dr. Christopher Logue, Medical Director of the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine at HCMC

Michael wouldn’t be the only one in need of the life-saving oxygen.

“We’ve seen a pretty big uptick in our patients injured from carbon monoxide poisoning,” Dr. Logue said.

Dr. Christopher Logue’s department treated 10 patients in just the last nine days. In a normal year, the hospital will treat 60-75 cases total.

“It is concerning. It’s frustrating because it is a preventable disease,” Dr. Logue said.

The cases to HCMC range from faulty furnaces to ice houses and in each instance a carbon monoxide detector could have made a difference.

“It’s a silent killer because you can’t detect the gas,” Dr. Logue said.

A lesson that will follow Michael on his next fishing trip.

“When I go in the fish house I’m going to get me a carbon monoxide detector,” Thetreau said.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, nausea and headache.
It’s recommended to keep CO detectors near a furnace, on every level of your home and near your bed.

And in cases like a fish house, they do have portable detectors.

If you would like to help the family of the fisherman with Thetreau who was killed, you can donate to their GoFundMe page.

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