A mixup with household chemicals sent Christopher Lauck into respiratory failure…and nearly killed him.

Mixing CLR with bleach nearly killed 32-year-old Christopher Lauck. After breathing in the fumes, the mine equipment operator from Gillette, WY went into respiratory failure.

Respiratory failure occurs when there isn’t enough oxygen passing from the lungs into the body’s bloodstream. This creates the potential to critically harm the body’s organs, like the heart and brain.

Christopher was rushed to a local hospital. Physicians immediately placed Christopher on a ventilator to help him breathe. After about a month at the hospital, he transferred to Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. Christopher was still on the ventilator when he arrived at NCLTAH.

“While the ventilator plays a critical, life-saving role, it was important to get Christopher removed from it as quickly and safely as possible to avoid complications,” said Dr. Gary Pearson. Dr. Pearson is the Medical Director at Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. “[Christopher] had received prolonged mechanical ventilation, which requires specialized medical assistance in being weaned off of it.”

At the hospital, an interdisciplinary team created a personalized plan of care. Christopher and his family members participated in the creation of that plan. The plan was tailored to his complex medical needs. The team used proven clinical practices, evidence-based research, and the latest technology to help remove him from the ventilator.

“The physicians and medical team were very thorough and provided excellent care,” Christopher says. “I felt good about the treatments and felt at home.”

Christopher liberated from the ventilator and transferred to Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. At NCRH, he participated in physical, occupational and speech therapy. Christopher also relearned how to perform daily activities. This included walking, eating and dressing — and his favorite, competitive shooting.

“My therapists found out I enjoyed competitive shooting. So during therapy, I began using a laser to shoot at targets,” Christopher recalled. “It was a really positive experience and helped me to see that I was going to be able to return to doing the things I enjoyed.”

Christopher returned home after his stay at Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. He is back to work and has resumed competitive shooting and spending time with his friends.