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Drowning Accidents and Long Term Impairment
doreenbertrand - 9/20/2013 2:07 AM
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Category: Health & Safety
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It is one of the most terrifying experiences as a parent to watch your child become injured while doing something that was supposed to be full of joy and fun. In a blink of an eye a day at a beach, swimming hole or public pool can change the lives of your family irreparably when a near drowning incident occurs. While drowning deaths are most prevalent in children under four years old, they happen at virtually any age. And sometimes when the child is revived and rescued, the family is faced with a lifetime of physical and cognitive impairments and health issues.

If you are already thinking about how many times you have visited a public pool without an incident, then consider that drowning accident Attorneys see unfortunate cases every week and children who sustain significant injuries from playing in or around the water.

Causes of Water-Related Injuries

Accidents around water can happen regardless of the depth, speed or current of the body of water. Many people believe that shallow water (such as lakes or swimming holes) present less risk because they typically have slow moving water. Children who are able to stand in the water are at an equal risk for drowning as children who venture into deeper water to swim. The truth is that a child is never safe inside a body of water without close adult supervision, and sometimes injuries still occur under the most watchful, careful eyes.

Swimming Proficiency: The ability to swim is a skill that most of us take for granted, however many adults and children were never instructed. Young children under the age of four are the most susceptible to drowning or water-related injuries as they have no fear of swimming or understanding that they are unable to swim. Often time’s young children will run into water and if unsupervised, a serious accident can occur.

Ineffective Pool Barriers: Any manmade pool is required by municipal law to have effective barriers such as pool fencing to prevent children from accessing the pool area without proper supervision. The fencing must be four sided and separating the water area from the rest of the home and yard. According to studies the installation of a four sided fence reduces the risk of drowning for young children by 85% compared to other three sided property fencing.

Absence of Life Jackets While Boating: Failure to wear approved lifejackets and floatation devices when on the water is a source of frequent water-related injuries particularly where boating is involved. In 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard received reports of more than 3,153 boat related injuries and 672 fatalities. About half of all fatal and nonfatal drowning were among youths aged fifteen years or older.

Impaired Watercraft Operation: Alcohol and drug use are key factors in more than 70% of water-related deaths in the United Sates of American every year. The combination of hot summer weather, dehydration and alcohol consumption are a recipe for disaster as alcohol impedes balance, visual acuity and overall judgment.

Long Term Impairment

Death and long term physical impairment from drowning occur when the body undergoes hypoxemia and acidosis and the impact that these two conditions have on the major organs can be catastrophic. Hypoxemia is the condition of low and inadequate oxygen levels in the blood stream. When this occurs the major organs stop functioning until normal oxygen levels are restored. During this time the body can sustain permanent damage to the kidney, liver, heart and lungs. The longer the individual is deprived of oxygen the more systemic the multiorgan dysfunction becomes.

Damage to the Central Nervous System (CNS) is common is near drowning incidents, which is also due to hypoxemia. Adults and children who sustain CNS damage due to water-related accidents can temporarily and even permanently lose mobility in the arms, legs, neck and back. When damage is significant the result is partial or full paralysis with a low prognosis of recovery.

When the body is devoid of oxygen, arrhythmias and other pulmonary injuries occur as well. Depending on the age of the accident victim, this can also lead to heart attack and stroke. The heart is an organ that does not repair itself easily and often damage sustained is permanent and life changing.

Consulting with a law firm that specializes in personal injury will allow you to benefit from the experience of similar cases of water-related injuries. When consulting with Attorney’s ensure that you have documented the accident and that you can provide a clear account of the accident and precipitating factors leading up to the injury. When ascertaining personal loss for a child or adult you will be required to provide a medical file review reporting treatment and prognosis as well as other information items identifying any impairment as a result of the injury.