Swimming is a great activity for both leisure and exercise. Going to the beach or swimming in a pool can be the perfect way to spend the day during the summer. Unfortunately, an ocean or even a pool can be dangerous without proper safety precautions. The CDC estimates that there are over 3,960 fatal drownings and 8,080 non-fatal drownings every year. This comes out to eleven fatal drownings and twenty-two non-fatal drownings per day.
Not all drownings result in fatalities. People can and do survive drownings; however, a non-fatal drowning can still have dire consequences. Over 40% of drownings require hospitalization or transfer for further care. The very nature of drowning deprives the brain of oxygen, which can cause severe brain damage and long-term disability.
Factors That Can Lead To Drowning
Drowning is the process of being submerged or immersed in water, causing the body to experience respiratory impairment. It only takes seconds for someone to drown, and drowning can occur in both deep and shallow water. Factors that can cause drowning include:
- Not knowing how to swim
- Missing or ineffective fencing around the water
- Lack of close supervision
- Not wearing life jackets
- Swimming under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Certain prescription medications (e., psychotropic medications or other drugs that affect thinking and motor skills)
Supervision is a crucial element in preventing drownings. Drownings, especially in younger children, are often silent. If no one is watching the swimmers, they might stay underwater longer than they would if someone was watching them.
Near-Drownings Can Cause Traumatic Brain Injury
The lack of oxygen to the brain can lead to long-term dysfunction, such as memory loss, learning disabilities, and loss of motor functioning. It could also lead to a traumatic brain injury. A near-drowning incident can cause anoxic brain damage. This type of traumatic brain injury occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen for more than four minutes. When someone drowns, they may be deprived of oxygen for four to six minutes after being pulled out of the water. The symptoms of anoxic brain damage may differ depending on which part of the brain was affected. Common symptoms include:
- Decreased cognition
- Impaired motor coordination
- Balance issues
- Difficulty swallowing and eating
- Sensory issues
- Impaired bowel and bladder function
Depriving the brain of oxygen has detrimental effects. Oxygen deprivation leads to the death of brain cells, if not the death of the drowning victim. Brain cells begin to die within five minutes of oxygen deprivation. The parts of the brain that are most affected control memory, speech, and movement. This is why drowning survivors often suffer damages to their motor functions and cognition.
3 Conditions People Suffer in Near-Drowning Accidents
Severe brain damage can occur without blunt force trauma to the head. After three minutes underwater, a victim can fall unconscious. After five minutes, the lack of oxygen starts affecting the brain. The following are three conditions that may occur after a near-drowning accident:
This is a condition caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain that results in the swelling of the brain. Seizures could ensue due to the swelling. This condition may last for a brief period with full recovery, or it could result in a coma or a fatality in severe circumstances.
This is a condition caused when blood flow remains constant, but oxygen decreases. This condition may cause poor judgment, loss of memory, and decreased control over motor function.
Infections to the Central Nervous System
These infections are due to the bacteria in the water taken in while the victim was drowning. These bacteria and organisms access the lungs and the brain, causing vomiting and seizures. Symptoms may not develop for up to three weeks, but once the infection reaches the brain, it can lead to permanent brain damage or even death.
People who have survived a near-drowning experience should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Call first responders immediately, even if the victim begins breathing on their own. Although they may seem fine, there could be undetectable brain damage or infection that requires professional attention.
Contact the Experienced California Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of JG Winter
Life can become hectic and overwhelming after experiencing something as traumatic as a near-drowning accident. At the Law Offices of JG Winter, we understand how challenging it can be to recover from a near-drowning accident. Although not every incident is the result of someone’s negligence, you might be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries, medical costs, or pain and suffering. In some circumstances, more than one individual or entity may be held liable.
Our brain injury attorneys have the resources and expertise needed to identify the at-fault party and build a solid case for you. Whether you file a personal injury claim or a premises liability claim, we know how to navigate the legal system and represent our clients’ best interests. At the Law Offices of JG Winter, we believe that the individual or entity responsible should be held accountable for their actions and compensate you for your losses. To schedule a free consultation, you can contact us at (844) 734-2626 or fill out our online contact form.