Pool drowning lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that an 11-year-old boy was hospitalized recently after nearly drowning at a pool in Avalon Park on Chicago’s South Side; fortunately, the boy is alive and doing well at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital.
One of the boy’s friends told the Sun-Times that he was in the deep end of the pool when water got into his mouth and he started sinking underneath the water. He appeared to be drowning for about two minutes according to the lifeguard on duty at the time.
When his struggle became evident the lifeguard along with several other witnesses dove into the pool, dragged the boy out and started performing CPR. While conducting CPR water continuously flowed out of the boy’s mouth, according to witnesses. Paramedics arrived a few minutes later and took him to the hospital.
The 11-year-old was reportedly at Avalon Pool that day with his aunt, sister and brother. His aunt was the one to call 911 when she saw what was happening to her nephew. Unfortunately, this type of incident is not uncommon, particularly in the summer months when pools are packed.
It is worth noting that nearly half of all drawings occur while other people, usually adults, are around, and more than 80% of drowning victims are male. As stated, the 11-year-old was in the deep end of the pool when the incident took place, and he undoubtedly panicked when he realized he was getting water in his mouth.
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This panic then leads to fear and irrational thought, and as more and more water enters the lungs the level of oxygen in the bloodstream decreases. In this case, this went on long enough to cause unconsciousness, and fortunately, the lifeguard and others noticed his struggle in time to save his life.
Water unexpectedly entering the mouth in large amounts is one of the initial stages of drowning. First, when the person realizes they are at risk of drowning, they start to panic and violently struggle to reach a safe area. Then, a period of calmness rushes over as they try to hold their breath for as long as possible. When they can no longer hold their breath they begin to swallow fluid, and take final gasps for air, during which water enters the lungs in large amounts. After the last gasps they are rendered unconscious, may possibly experience seizures, and ultimately die if help does not come in time.
In some cases it may take as little as 12 to 20 seconds from the initial panic to total loss of consciousness; and it can take as little as one tablespoon of fluid to obstruct the lung’s ability to exchange oxygen. Because the processes can happen so quickly, it is critically important that adults and guardians be able to recognize the real-life signs of drowning and react quickly.
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Tragedies of this kind are not limited to pools or children, however. In upstate New York in November 2012, for example, a man leaving a Buffalo Bills-Dolphins game drowned in a creek outside Ralph Wilson Stadium. The 26-year-old man was thought to be drunk when he exited the game, and being November in Buffalo, temperatures were extremely cold. The night he was found dead, face down in the creek, temperatures dropped below freezing.
The creek was at the bottom of a very steep cliff, and his family alleges in their pending lawsuit that the fencing and lighting around the area was sub-par, contributing to his death. His family is considering bringing a lawsuit against Erie County over his death.
Drowning accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience working with drowning victims and their families. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in a drowning accident caused – or not prevented – by the negligence of another, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your medical bills and emotional distress.