Family warns of 'dry drowning' after son dies days after swimming

A family, preparing to bury their four-year-old child, wants to warn other parents of the medical condition that cost them their son.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas -- A four-year-old Texas boy died from "dry drowning" almost a week after his family went swimming at the Texas City Dike, in Texas City.
 
Francisco Delgado Jr. says almost a week after a family trip to the Texas City Dike, he called 9-1-1 because his son Frankie, 4, stopped breathing.The child had shown symptoms that resembled a stomach bug for several days, including vomiting and diarrhea.
 
Doctors found fluid in Frankie’s lungs and around his heart, telling the Delgado family, Frankie died of what’s known as “dry drowning.”
 
Dry drowning, also called secondary drowning, can occur hours after a child has experienced a near-drowning incident. If untreated, if can lead to brain injury, respiratory problems or death.The uncommon condition mostly involves young children.
 
Even if a child ingests only a "few gasps" of water in a pool incident, he or she could be at risk of experiencing dry drowning later, Purva Grover, medical director of Cleveland Clinic Children's pediatric emergency departments said in a 2015 interview. 
 
"You might not witness your child inhale any pool water, but it's important to watch out for signs soon after an event that could cause dry drowning," Purva said. 
 
Dry drowning occurs after a child inhales water through the mouth or nostrils and that water gets into the lungs. The lungs spasm, making breathing difficult, and the lungs can become irritated from the water and fill with fluid, according to Purva.
 
Children can start showing symptoms of dry drowning 24 to 48 hours after inhaling water. Purva says symptoms can include coughing, vomiting, fever, struggling for breath and mood swings.
 
A parent who notices symptoms should take the child to an emergency room for observation. A doctor may decide to drain the lungs. She said that while dry drowning incidents are rare, it's best for parents to be overcautious.
 
"My best advice is when a child has a near-drowning event in the water, the first thing is to get a professional opinion," she said.
 
Frankie’s mother, Tara, said her son was “full of life" and "for four-years-old, he had a big heart.”

The family is in the process of finalizing funeral arrangements for the child. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with the unexpected expenses.

Contributing: Mary Bowerman, USA TODAY NETWORK. 

 

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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