When you consider drowning accidents, you probably are like many people and understandably think of individuals who have lost their lives. Indeed, there are approximately 4,000 drowning fatalities in the United States annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The reality is that there are about 8,000 nonfatal drowning accidents across the country each year. This all breaks down to roughly 11 fatal and 22 nonfatal drowning accidents each and every day in the United States.
Many nonfatal drowning accidents result in victims suffering brain injuries. According to medical experts, drowning accident brain injuries are placed in two different categories:
- Anoxic brain damage
- Traumatic brain injury
We take a moment to examine these two types of nonfatal drowning accident injuries that can result in a victim’s life being inalterably changed.
Overview of Anoxic Brain Damage
What medically is known as anoxic brain damage is the most commonplace type of nonfatal drowning brain injury. Anoxic brain damage occurs when there is a complete lack of oxygen going to a person’s brain. In the case of a drowning accident, a person does experience a complete lack of oxygen to the brain.
According to the Shepard Center, one of the leading neurorehabilitation hospitals in the United States, brain cells begin to die after experiencing a lack of oxygen for four minutes. Unlike a number of other cells found in the human body, brain cells do not regenerate and can never be replaced once they die.
Overview of Traumatic Brain Injury
The world-renowned Mayo Clinic defines traumatic brain injury as resulting from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. It can also occur when a foreign object pierces the skull and enters or passes through the brain. Mild traumatic brain injuries may affect brain cells temporarily. More serious traumatic brain injuries can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding, and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can result in long-term complications or death.
Traumatic brain injury can occur in different types of aquatic accidents including diving mishaps and sip and fall incidents. In some cases, a person engaged in recreational activities at a swimming pool or water park can end up suffering both traumatic brain injury as well as anoxic brain injury.
Extent of Drowning Accident Brain Injury Cases
Dr. Dipak Chandy and Dr. David Richards have conducted ongoing research on drowning accidents and associated submersion. Their research specifically has focused on brain injury associated with nonfatal drowning accidents.
These researchers advise that approximately 20 percent of nonfatal drowning accidents result in what they medically classify as neurological damage (or brain injury). These experts explain that in some instances, signs of brain injury are obvious. A drowning accident victim is comatose and lacks brainstem reflexes.
These researchers go on to note that in a considerable number of nonfatal drowning cases evidence of brain injury is subtle and may not exhibit symptoms for 24 hours. As a consequence, a notable number of nonfatal drowning accident victims fail to receive a necessary medical evaluation in a timely manner. Unfortunately, when this occurs, the effects of neurological damage progress without timely intervention, resulting in more significant brain damage and even otherwise preventable death.
Your Legal Rights After a Nonfatal Drowning Accident
In addition to needing medical assistance following a nonfatal drowning accident, a victim of this type of incident that results from the negligence of another party also requires legal advice and support. If you or a loved one are the victims of a nonfatal drowning accident, the legal team at the nationwide Doan Law Firm is for you. You can connect with a Doan Law Firm lawyer any day of the year and any time of day (or night) by calling us at (800) 349-0000.
We can schedule an initial consultation for you with an experienced attorney at any one of our 40 offices, at your home, or virtually. There is no charge for an initial consultation with a dedicated drowning accident lawyer from our firm.