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Oakland Personal Injury Lawyers > Blog > Drowning > Long-Term Medical Consequences of Near-Drowning

Long-Term Medical Consequences of Near-Drowning


The common definition of drowning is death by submersion in water and inhalation of water into the lungs, but quick action may often avoid such a tragic outcome. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that around 8,000 individuals seek medical care at emergency rooms due to nonfatal drowning injuries. Children love the water but do not always appreciate the risks, so they are often victims. According to the CDC, for every child killed in a drowning accident, there are 7 kids treated for near-drowning trauma.

Even after surviving a drowning accident, victims who sustained a period of respiratory impairment can suffer severe injuries after being revived. The long-term consequences can be life-changing, not just for the victim but for entire families. Your losses could be significant, so it is important to get an Oakland drowning accident lawyer’s help to pursue responsible parties. Some background information on near-drownings is also useful.

 Medical Complications: Whether fatal or not, drowning involves inhalation of water into the lungs and respiratory distress. However, it is the implications on the brain that are often the most severe. When the lungs do not work, there is a disruption in blood flow and oxygen to the brain. The medical consequences may include:

  • Issues with memory and memory loss;
  • Cognitive disorders and learning disabilities;
  • Seizures and stroke;
  • Trouble with motor skills and slurred speech;
  • Paralysis below the waist and in the extremities; and,
  • A permanent comatose or vegetative state.

 Medical Damages in Near-Drowning Cases: A large percentage of compensation for victims who survive drowning is medical bills. According to the CDC, 40 percent of individuals who are treated in the ER for near-drowning are later admitted to the hospital for further care. The hospitalization rate for victims of other accidents is 10 percent. Additional medical costs to treat a victim include:

  • Surgery;
  • Expenses for wheelchairs, hospital beds, and other equipment;
  • Implementing adaptive design for vehicles and homes;
  • Costs related to in-home care by specialty and skilled nursing staff; and,
  • Fees to place the victim at an assisted living facility suited to their needs.

How Nonfatal Drowning Affects Families: There are additional damages you might not consider, but which have significant implications for your household. With serious injuries, a family member may also need to act as caregiver for the victim. That person will miss work or even be forced to leave the workforce, leading to lost wages and lost future earning capacity. Because of being injured, the victim may be unable to provide love, guidance, and emotional support to the family. It may be possible to recover for these damages as well.

Consult with an Oakland Drowning Accident Attorney About Remedies 

It is always a relief when a person is revived from drowning, but you can see that the consequences of a nonfatal drowning incident are also serious. Venardi Zurada, LLP will assist you in pursuing legal remedies, so please contact us to schedule a free case review. We can meet with you at our offices in Oakland or Walnut Creek, CA.



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