Near drowning can cause acquired brain injury (ABI). Near drowning occurs when water enters your lungs and you stop breathing. Your brain does not get the oxygen it needs, and major organ systems may begin to shut down. If the flow of oxygen to your brain is not restored quickly, you could die.
The result of a prolonged lack of oxygen to your brain is an acquired brain injury. This can vary from relatively mild to a severe brain injury. An ABI could lead to a variety of mental, physical, and psychological issues, including problems with:
- Controlling emotions and behavior
- And more
This type of injury could affect all aspects of your life.
Suffering an ABI in a Near-Drowning Incident
When someone suffers a near drowning, they may be without oxygen for a significant period of time. They are probably unconscious. Someone whose brain did not get full oxygen for a significant period may exhibit symptoms such as:
- Cold, bluish skin
- Chest pain
- Coughing, sometimes coughing up water
- Shortness of breath (or not breathing, in many cases)
Anyone who experiences a near drowning should see a doctor for an evaluation as soon as possible. If the person is not breathing when pulled from the water, you must immediately give them rescue breaths and begin CPR. Have someone else call for first responders. This is a medical emergency, even if they begin breathing on their own.
The loss of oxygen for only a few minutes associated with near drowning can cause an ABI. However, people may go several minutes without oxygen and still recover fully. It all depends on the individual injury and how it affects them. An ABI can be focal, focused on one area of the brain, or diffuse, more widespread. This can determine how the ABI affects the person.
The signs and symptoms of a brain injury may include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Short-term memory loss
- Confusion and disorientation after waking up
- Inability to concentrate
- Slowed response times
- Coordination and mobility issues
- Problems with dizziness and balance
- Fatigue and sleep changes
- Epilepsy and seizures
- Problems with vision and sight
- Other sensory issues
- Emotional and behavioral changes
- Unwarranted anger or agitation
- Unpredictable emotional reactions
How long these symptoms last depends on the severity of the ABI and other factors unique to the particular injury.
Treatment and Recovery After an ABI From Near Drowning
ABIs, like other brain injuries, can vary widely in severity. All of them require medical evaluation and treatment, but those with a mild brain injury may go home from the emergency room the same day and be back to work or school within a week. More serious moderate or severe ABIs, however, require a longer period to recover and more intensive treatment.
Recovery From a Moderate ABI
Those who suffer a moderate brain injury may feel disoriented and dazed for a while. They may need inpatient treatment followed by therapy to regain skills and build strength. It could take several months or longer before they recover. Some continue to suffer ongoing issues, including significant impairments.
Recovery From a Severe ABI
Severe brain injuries often result in extended periods of unconsciousness and major deficits. The brain can rebuild some pathways, so therapy and rehabilitation are important. Those with this type of ABI will often spend several weeks in the hospital followed by inpatient rehabilitation. Therapies that might be needed include:
Suffering from an ABI could put you out of school or work for weeks or months. Some people never fully regain their previous abilities and cannot return to their previous job. The treatment cost can vary from several thousand to millions of dollars.
Seeking Compensation if a Near Drowning Caused an Acquired Brain Injury
In some cases, a near drowning may be a personal injury accident. This means it occurred because someone else was negligent. If you or a loved one suffered a near drowning that resulted in an acquired brain injury, call Pintas & Mullins for a free case evaluation. The brain injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins have protected the rights of accident victims for more than 20 years.
Call Pintas & Mullins today at 1-866-611-BASC to get started.