Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- What is drowning?
- What happens during drowning?
- What are the complications of drowning?
- Does the type of drowning matter?
- What are the risk factors of drowning?
- What are the symptoms of drowning?
- When should one seek medical care for drowning?
- How is drowning diagnosed?
- How is drowning treated?
- How can drowning be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for a drowning victim?
What is drowning?
According to the World Health Organization, "Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid." The possible outcomes of drowning are classified as death, morbidity (the development of disability or injury), and no morbidity.
This relatively simple definition was agreed upon at the 2002 World Congress of Drowning held in Amsterdam. Prior to that meeting, some definitions and classifications of drowning were not necessarily well defined, and their meanings were subject to a variety of interpretations by different countries and health organizations. While some people still try to sort drowning events into categories (for example wet vs. dry, primary vs. secondary, fatal vs. non-fatal), these terms may or may not adequately describe a patient's situation, the effects of drowning on their body, or the potential outcome.
Drowning is a common cause of death and disability. In 2002 over 400,000 (worldwide) people died from drowning; of the 400,000 deaths, 129,000 were in China. In the US it is the third most common cause of accidental death, with 3,500 deaths per year, or 10 per day. Twenty-five percent of the victims are children aged 14 and younger.
The death rate from drowning does not reflect the potential morbidity (disability) due to brain injury for those who survive a drowning episode.
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