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Near-Drowning Accidents: What They Are & How To Respond

When a prominent individual or a young child dies in a drowning accident, the incident is often reported by local news outlets and widely acknowledged by their communities. Vigils and other memorials are held to commemorate the lives lost and changes may be made in local laws to ensure such tragedies don't recur.

However, when an unsuspecting swimmer suffers a near-drowning, hardly enough attention is brought to the incident since the victim ultimately survives. These catastrophic events need to be more widely acknowledged, seeing as how near-drowning accidents can permanently affect the lives of victims and their loved ones. Only through awareness can such tragedies be avoided in the future.

What Is A Near-Drowning?

The term near-drowning is used to describe instances where someone came close to drowning but was rescued before all of their biological systems shut down permanently.

It's not widely known but drowning is a multi-stage process with the last step being clinical death. If an individual is brought back above the surface of the water and resuscitated before (or promptly after the beginning of) that final phase of the drowning process, they are said to have suffered a near-drowning.

What Is The Difference Between Drowning & Near-Drowning?

As alluded to above, the difference between a drowning & a near-drowning accident is death.

In any instance where someone partially drowned but they survived, they are considered a near-drowning victim. Such victims are considered lucky to have survived and yet the repercussions of a near-drowning incident can be extremely severe.

During a near-drowning, a victim's bodily tissues and more importantly their brain can be deprived of oxygen. Any time period during which the body's tissues are not receiving fresh oxygen, cells begin to die.

When referring to tissues other than the brain, this is not as big of a concern given that these kinds of cells are quite adept at regenerating. Regrettably, when it comes to brain tissue which is composed of neurons, the regenerating processes are mostly nonexistent.

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How Do Near-Drowning Accidents Occur?

Near-drownings can have a series of causes. Naturally, near-drownings also share the same causes of drownings, since what differs these two 'diagnoses' is the outcome and not the initial circumstances.

Most near-drownings are a result of inexperienced swimmers being left unattended, whether they be young or old. Alcohol and other substance consumption may also be a factor in near-drownings. Panicking while in the water, physical exhaustion, and even suicide attempts are also recognized as prime causes of near-drownings.

What Happens If You Survive Drowning?

When someone suffers a near-drowning, there are a number of symptoms that may manifest. These include:

  • Skin that is cold to the touch
  • The skin turns a bluish color
  • Coughing and chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting and/or dry heaving
  • Unconsciousness

Victims of near-drownings require immediate medical attention. Even in situations where they appear to have recovered, or if they were only submerged for a short period of time, health complications may arise soon after the incident.

When resuscitation methods such as chest compressions or CPR were employed to help the victim regain consciousness, the need for the victim to visit a medical professional for examination is even greater.

Why is it so important for someone who almost drowned to visit a doctor even if they "feel fine"? Well, there are a number of complications that can manifest in the hours or days after a near-drowning accident that can be lethal. Chemical imbalances in the body and even potentially-fatal heart arrhythmias are only a couple of examples of these.

Legal Action After A Near-Drowning Accident

Whenever negligence is determined to be the cause of damages, physical or otherwise, the victims of these damages can take legal action against those considered to be the responsible parties. In the case of a near-drowning accident, victims and their loved ones can employ the rightful powers granted to them by the civil justice system to pursue justice via a near-drowning accident lawsuit.

If you or a loved one were affected by a near-drowning accident, it's likely that your life was significantly affected in more ways than one. You may now be feeling the weight of financial burdens stemming from the incident which were not there before. This is without considering the physical and mental disability, as well as the emotional trauma, that often comes with a near-drowning accident.

By taking legal action, you can relieve the undue pressure that has been put on you and your family by the incident, take a step towards closure, and help prevent others from suffering the same undeserved fate.

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