A former pub landlord who won £26,000 in compensation after suffering agonising carbon monoxide poisoning was told by doctors that he was just ‘hours from death’.
Karl Gibson ran the Black Bull Inn at Blidworth and enjoyed a busy social life with friends and family.
But after being slowly overcome by toxic fumes following a routine boiler service at the pub, he collapsed and was rushed to hospital and later diagnosed with cognitive brain impairment.
He says his life has been ruined by the ordeal and he is now a virtual recluse as he can no longer work as he has trouble remembering simple things like names, faces and figures.
The 29-year-old, who lives in Mansfield, said: “I have gone from being the life and soul of the party to a loner. My friends say my personality has changed and I am not the person I was.
“I don’t like going out anymore, I don’t like being around people and I can’t work anymore or do the job I loved.
“I find it very hard to do simple things like add up or remember people’s names or faces. I have severe anxiety and panic attacks. My confidence has gone. I had my dream job and now its gone.
“My body was poisoned and it destroyed my life. I am lucky though as most people die from carbon monoxide poisoning. But I have to live with the effects every day because of a leaky boiler. I am living proof that people should get a CO2 alarm.”
Karl used to work as a plasterer but decided to follow his dream and run a pub. He took over the lease as tenant landlord at the Black Bull Inn.
But in July 2011 soon after the tenanted pub’s boilers were serviced by a contracted gas company, he suddenly started feeling sick with aching bones and severe flu symptoms. He also had crippling headaches which he said felt like someone had his head held in a vice and often left him dizzy and unable to stand.
Added Karl: “The pain was so intense that squeezing my head with my hands was the only way to release the pressure. I had to start doing things in slow motion otherwise the pain was so bad it felt I was going to faint. My voice also went really husky but I just thought I had the flu.”
Eventually he collapsed and was rushed to King’s Mill Hospital where a diagnosis of severe carbon monoxide poisoning was eventually made.
An expert Corgi engineer was drafted in who immediately condemned the pub’s upstairs boiler in the living area near to Karl’s bedroom.
Investigations revealed the boiler was leaking deadly gas after a botched servicing and the support services company, Enterprise PLC of Leyland, later admitted liability for the leak.
Emma Ginley, of Simpson Millar solicitors, who handled Karl’s claim said it was the worst case of carbon monoxide they had ever dealt with.
She added: “Mr Gibson is very lucky to be alive. If he hadn’t collapsed he may never have woken up like most victims of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“He has been left with brain impairment which may affect him for the rest of his life. People need to know it is a silent killer which could be in your home and the best way to protect yourself is to fit an alarm.”
A spokesman for Amey - which have since purchased Enterprise PLC - said: “A thorough investigation was carried out at the time and the case was subsequently settled.
“It would therefore be inappropriate for us to comment further.”
Since the ordeal, the pub has been taken over by new tenants but Karl remains out of work.
He added: “It’s a living nightmare and I cant see any end in sight. I just wish I could turn the clock back and get my old life back.”