Samuel Tardieu @

20 years later, I'm proud of myself


Back in 9th grade. My science teacher was explaining to the class why carbon monoxide (CO) inhalation was dangerous: carbon monoxide molecules attach themselves to the hemoglobin, preventing dioxygen molecules (O2) to do so. The carbone monoxide doesn’t dissociate from hemoglobin under normal pressure, making it a long-term problem (ok, this was a simplification, but it was ninth grade, don’t forget).

I remember myself asking the teacher: “Would it be ok to run a person’s blood through a machine that temporarily increases its pressure in the presence of oxygen?” She looked surprised and told me she didn’t know.

Two days ago, I watched an episode of House M.D in which Dr. House puts a patient into an hyperbaric oxygen chamber to cure a patient from carbon monoxide poisoning. Not quite the same thing as the derivation I was thinking about, but the same principle, increase the blood pressure in an oxygen-saturated environment. This reminded me of the question I asked when I was a child. Twenty years later, I’m proud to know that my idea was not that stupid.

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