A day swimming at a local pool, lake or beach is a treat for you and your family. Unfortunately, a beautiful day of recreation can turn tragic in a matter of minutes. There are thousands of fatalities each year due to drowning and thousands more nonfatal incidents.
Submersion in water for just minutes results in mild to severe problems. One of the most common results of near drowning is a condition called anoxic brain injury (ABI). Anoxia happens when the brain lacks oxygen. Experts estimate that a few minutes of oxygen deprivation causes a victim a variety of symptoms but dissipates quickly, leaving the person to fully recover in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, four to five minutes without oxygen produces moderate to severe brain damage.
Effects of Mild Anoxia:
- Disturbances vision, focus, and/or memory
- Heavy Breathing
- Numb or tingling feelings especially in extremities
- Heavy Breathing
- Euphoric sensations
Effects of Moderate to Severe Anoxia:
- Speech disturbances
- Severe headache
- cyanosis (bluish coloring)
Long Term Effects of Severe ABI:
There are many long term effects when the cerebral cortex and cerebellum are starved for oxygen for four or more minutes. Weakness in the arms and legs, difficulties in movement and balance make it difficult for the victim to walk.
Disturbance of the basal ganglia might lead to persistent tremors and/or writing. Other times, chorea may result causing jerky movements.
Some patients suffer cortical blindness when the anoxia impacts the occipital lobe. In rare cases, a condition known as Anton’s syndrome develops in which the person does not realize he has lost vision despite bumping into objects and not recognizing objects.
Those with frontal lobe impairment exhibit personality changes including mood swings when the patient become angry, irritable, frustrated and/or depressed.
Possible Tests and Treatments:
Physicians will likely order a number of tests to determine the immediate condition of a near drowning victim. Among these are blood counts, x rays, magnetic resonance imagery scan (MRI) and, computerized axial tomography (CT). These tests will help doctors assess the severity of the damage to the brain and body. . Typically, a medical team assembles to provide physical, occupational and speech therapy. The severity of impairment indicates how long to conduct rehabilitation efforts for the best outcome. Psychological counseling often helps a patient deal with the emotions due to his life altering accident.
Liability and Legal Action:
While many near drownings are accidents in which nobody is at fault, there are times when such occurrences could and should have been prevented. If, for example, the body of water was under the supervision of an ill-trained or inattentive lifeguard, a victim could in legal action against that person, the property company or the organization that certified the lifeguard.
Others who might be liable in certain situations are owners of unprotected pools. For example, in Florida, persons who own pools must provide a barrier to that body of water for when it is not supervised. This barrier could be a fence with a lock and/or alarm or a pool cover that meets the specifications of the American Society for Testing and Materials. Owners of properties containing unprotected wells or other water hazards might also suffer legal consequences should a drowning or near drowning occur there.
If you or a family member suffered from an ABI from drowning you need assistance. A competent and experienced lawyer can help you during this challenging time. You need compensation for associated costs like medical and therapy bills and possible loss of wages. The pain and suffering ABI victims endure also deserves monetary assistance.
We Want to Help You:
Those impacted by the trauma and damage of anoxic brain injury due to a near drowning deserve compassion and guidance. The attorneys at Freeman and Freeman urge you to contact us for assistance with your particular situation.