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Traumatic Brain Injuries from Near Drowning
Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland
Every year, people flock to bodies of water to fish, swim, and play. Whether it's a backyard or hotel swimming pool, river or ocean, plenty of children and adults will want to utilize it. What many of these people don't consider is how easy it is to get into trouble while in or near the water. It's surprisingly easy for these individuals to find that for all their swimming skills or preventative measures taken they may still come close to drowning. It only takes a few seconds for a child to become submerged in a bathtub, wading pool, or even bucket, and it doesn't take much aspiration of water to shut down the body. In fact, children four-years-old or younger are at greater risk of drowning due to their curiosity, which may cause them to fall into water, and their small size, which may keep them from escaping easily.
Medicine has come a long way and it is easier for victims to be revived if they are saved in time, especially if they have been submerged in extremely cold water. Many of these individuals may go on with a normal life. However, there are those who are nearly drowned, but wind up with brain injuries. This is not only debilitating to the victim, but to their family and friends.
Near drowning is defined as oxygen deprivation or suffocation as a result of being submerged in water that does not result in death. When someone is submerged, water enters the lungs. When the lungs are filled with water, the body is deprived of oxygen and the transfer of oxygen to the blood (hypoxemia) and brain (anoxia). This lack of oxygen is what leads to brain damage and death.
Victims of near drowning may not be breathing, or they may wheeze, gasp, vomit, or cough. They may seem alert or drowsy. Or they may be comatose. Because of the lack of oxygen in their blood, their skin may appear blue. While many of these survivors of near drowning will recover completely, even if they needed to be resuscitated with CPR, there are some whose brains will never function correctly again.
The prognosis of the near drowning victim depends on the length of time they were deprived of oxygen. Brain injuries due to near drowning may also vary in severity. The effects may not be known for several years. For example, a child under the age of four may seem fine, but may show signs of trouble concentrating, memory loss, or difficulties in writing drawing, or multitasking while they are in school. Or the problems may not surface until the child enters the workforce.
Traumatic brain injuries caused by near drowning are often difficult to diagnose, and problems may be attributed to something else. Victims and their families may find that the doctors have given them medication they do not need or are not given the resources necessary for help.
If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic brain injury caused by near drowning in Washington, DC, Virginia or Maryland, please contact the experienced brain injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, and Siegel, P.C.