Home Health Nurse Saves Patients from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Tuesday, Oct. 16 started out like any other day for LifeCare Home Health Nurse Megan Veitenheimer. Little did she know by the end of the day, she’d become a hero.

On her way to visit two patients, a husband and wife couple, in Iowa Park, Texas, Megan called the wife to let her know she was en route. But as the call ended, something didn’t sit right with Megan.

“The patient seemed very short of breath and mentioned it felt like something in her throat was choking her,” she explained. “She also mentioned she had a headache and was having trouble getting up, which was very out of character for her.”

Once she arrived at the patients’ home, Megan, who has worked at BeyondFaith in Wichita Falls for the past year, knocked on the door, but no one answered. She smelled a distinct, but strange odor near the door and instantly knew something was amiss.

“I tried calling the patient again, and she answered but was slurring her words and said she couldn’t get to the door,” Megan explained.

Megan continued knocking on the door and windows of the patients’ home, in hopes that perhaps the husband, who was sleeping in a different room, could help open the door.

“I just knew I needed to get in the house – one way or another,” she said. “I knew something was seriously wrong.”

After several attempts to enter the home, Megan called the local police station.

“They told me they couldn’t force entry into the home unless the patients consented since they were conscious,” she said.

But, Megan wasn’t going to give up. So, she called the police back and had them talk to the wife to consent to enter their home.

Upon their arrival, the first responders discovered the patients had a carbon monoxide leak in their furnace, which had been turned on the previous Friday due to the changing cooler weather.

“I had just seen one of the patients on Friday,” Megan said. “She wasn’t feeling well then, so I checked on her over the weekend, but she sounded better. It’s scary how quick something like this can happen.”

She even stayed on the scene for several hours to help first responders identify which medications both patients are taking, and what she had observed. Had Megan not persisted to get into the patients’ home, their fate might have been different that day.

The husband has since been released from the hospital and is staying with his son until the furnace is repaired. The wife is still in the hospital, but stable. She calls Megan her hero and angel.

“I’m so blessed to serve my patients,” Megan said. “I’m glad I was in the right place at the right time to help them.”

Joy Crumpler, Area Administrator for the West Region at BeyondFaith, says that Megan is an asset to their team and the patients she serves.

“Megan proves her passion and commitment on a daily basis,” she said. “Not only to this company, but the field of nursing. With such a strong work ethic and caring heart, the Wichita Falls location is very blessed to have Megan on their team.”

Way to go, Megan! Thanks for demonstrating LifeCare’s core values. You are a true hero!

Check out the Wichita Falls media coverage of the story here.

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