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Types of Drowning
Maryland, Virginia, & Washington, DC
Drowning is a common cause of death for children under age 14. It is the second leading cause of death for children of this age, after car accidents. But not all drowning accidents are the same, and it is important to know the types of drowning, first to prevent injury, and second to understand your potential legal rights in the event that a loved one suffers this type of accident.
The lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel, P.C. are experienced in handling drowning cases, and we can help you pursue compensation for any type of drowning accident. Please call or email us today to discuss your legal options.
Drowning is a condition where the body suffers oxygen deprivation (asphyxia) as a result of fluid exposure. Beyond these basic elements, though, drowning can be very different. Recognized types of drowning include:
- Wet drowning
- Dry drowning
- Near drowning
- Secondary drowning
Because of the diversity of drowning, it is impossible to predict the ultimate outcome of any drowning accident. Sometimes, a person may be completely submerged underwater for extended periods and be fully resuscitated with little or no permanent damage. Other times, a person may never actually be submerged but may drown after taking in less than four ounces of water.
Wet drowning is the most common form of drowning. It occurs when a person's lungs fill with water, and the person suffers oxygen deprivation leading to brain death. During initial submersion, a person may gasp and inhale a small amount of water that can lead to spasms around the larynx that seal it, preventing the entry of either air or water. After a short period of oxygen deprivation, the body begins to asphyxiate, and the muscles around the larynx relax, allowing water to fill the lungs.
Dry drowning occurs when the muscle action around the larynx that seal the airway prevent significant amounts of water from ever entering the lungs. However, air is also prevented from entering (or leaving) the lungs, and the person asphyxiates. The person may also suffer pulmonary edema, in which blood accumulates in the lungs. Dry drowning is often confused with secondary drowning.
Near drowning is when a person suffers oxygen deprivation as a result of drowning but is revived after a period of time. Depending on the duration of oxygen deprivation, a victim of near drowning may suffer significant complications, including permanent brain damage.
Secondary drowning occurs when a person inhales fluid into the lungs and that fluid damages the interior surfaces of the lungs, reducing their ability to exchange air. The fluid can irritate the lungs, causing the body to produce additional fluid to lubricate the lungs and stop irritation, but these fluids can actually contribute to asphyxiation. Secondary drowning is common among near-drowning victims, and all near-drowning victims should be evaluated for inhaled fluid even if they seem fine after resuscitation.
If a loved one has suffered death, brain damage, or other serious injury as a result of any type of drowning accident, you may be able to hold responsible those who contributed to the injury. The Washington, DC personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel, P.C. can help drowning victims and their families in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC Please call or email us today.