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Secondary drowning can occur far from water source

A lot of personal injury discussions center on two topics: negligence and injury. The first focuses on the behavior of the defendant while the latter focuses on the impact that behavior had on the victim. Today’s discussion in our Ocala personal injury law blog will focus on that latter topic.

When an accident occurs, there are some injuries that are immediately evident. Then, there are some injuries that may actually develop over time from trauma suffered in the accident. Secondary drowning is an appropriate example of an injury that may not be instantly noticeable.

A lot of parents may not even know that secondary drowning is an issue that they should look out for. We aren’t talking about a case in which a child nearly drowns and then returns to the scene to fall into the swimming pool again. Secondary drowning occurs when a child inhales fluid in a situation like a near drowning.

Up to 72 hours after the fluid has been inhaled, the liquid can cause the child to essentially drown in a water-free atmosphere. Michael Roizen, MD, explained that the “fluid acts as an irritant, causing inflammation and leakage of liquid into the lung.”

Pulmonary edema can occur over several hours, he explained, as the body thrusts “even more liquid into the lungs.” This can inhibit a child’s breathing, which mimics the type of drowning that could occur in a body of water.

What happens if a child is saved from drowning in what would have been considered a premises liability case and later suffers secondary drowning? Does the fact that the trauma was suffered on the premises ensure that compensation could be still be awarded? What if a parent fails to notice signs of a secondary drowning or can’t get the child to an emergency department on time?

The questions above are great ones to ask an attorney, and ones for which the answer is best given on a case-by-case basis.

Source: You.Beauty, “Secondary Drowning: What Every Parent Needs to Know,” Julie Giusti, May 24, 2014

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