As we reported in our June article on Sleep Apnea Statistics and Facts 2016, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, weight gain, memory problems, impotency, headaches, job impairment, and vehicle accidents.
And such was the case last week when a commuter train engineer, who “suddenly remembered waking up on the floor,” slammed his train into a station in Hoboken at 21 mpg, double the allowable speed of 10 mph. Unfortunately, a woman standing on the station platform was killed by falling debris. Just prior to the crash, his train had sped around a 30 mph curve at over 80 mph.
After the crash, the engineer, who had reported feeling rested when he reported to work in the early morning, was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. Sleep apnea constantly awakens those who have it during sleeping hours because the airway is obstructed (closed) and breathing stops. The consequences are daytime drowsiness and the potential of serious accidents.
New Jersey Transit does have a sleep apnea screening program and The NTSB has recommended sleep apnea testing for engineers. Metro-North and the Long Island Railroad now require testing after it was determined that the engineer in the unrelated 2013 New York City crash, who sped and crashed into a curve, fell asleep because his sleep apnea was undiagnosed.
If you suspect that you or a loved one suffer from sleep apnea, please have it checked out by a certified sleep specialist. If you’d like to come to BergerHenry ENT, book an appointment with Dr. Don Sesso who is triple certified and one of the foremost sleep disorder specialists in the country. Your life and the lives of others could depend on it.
For more on the Hoboken, NJ train crash, please visit Philly.com.