Understanding Different Types of Drowning

Understanding Different Types of Drowning

Many people may be surprised to hear that drowning accidents can take a variety of different forms, all of which have unique classifications and medical considerations to take into account. Arizona’s drowning fatality rates are the seventh highest in the nation, which necessitates more extensive drowning-related knowledge from all swimmers, boaters, and other water-goers; take a moment to familiarize yourself with the five types of drowning that can occur.

Wet Drowning

Wet drowning is what most people think of when they imagine “drowning;” it involves victims, conscious or unconscious, eventually being submerged as water fills their lungs, suffocating them. The lungs are damaged by water intake, and shortly after losing consciousness (if they weren’t already unconscious to begin with), the victim passes away. Wet drowning comes in two varieties:

  • Active drowning, which refers to when an individual recognizes that they may be at risk of drowning. This is accompanied by what most people associate with drowning behavior, such as sputtering, splashing, waving arms, and other attempts to draw attention to oneself while staying above water. This is the most common type of drowning for able-bodied swimmers.
  • Passive drowning, or silent drowning, is extremely subtle. Individuals can be either conscious or unconscious during passive drowning; either way, they’ll submerge underwater and be unable to breach the surface again, resulting in no sound, splashing, or other obvious requests for help. Passive drowning is especially common amongst drowning children and those impaired by alcohol.

Near Drowning

Of course, people don’t always die during an incident where they may begin to drown, which results in what’s known as “near-drowning.” Victims of near-drowning may die later due to complications and lung damage, but at least temporarily, are saved from drowning and able to live; even if they survive indefinitely, they may have permanent lung or brain complications, which can be treated as serious injuries and compensated accordingly.

Understanding Different Types of Drowning

Dry and Secondary Drowning

Dry drowning refers to a rare, but nonetheless dangerous situation in which someone’s throat reflexively closes before water can get into it. This successfully keeps water out of the lungs, but also completely blocks out air, creating a strong potential for someone to “drown” even if their head is above water.

Conversely, secondary drowning refers to a near-drowning incident that results in damage to the lungs, usually due to water remaining within the lungs or simply being within them for too long. Over time, victims may lose the ability to absorb oxygen, suffer inflamed lungs and airways, or go through complete cardiac arrest. In the case of freshwater, victims may undergo severe blood pH level changes, whereas saltwater can draw water out of the bloodstream, causing it to coagulate and halt blood flow.

Arizona Drowning Accident Compensation

Drowning and near-drowning are universally deeply scarring experiences that can cause mental trauma, permanent injuries, severe pains, and death. You deserve compensation for your suffering, so if you or a loved one has been hurt in a drowning accident, make sure to talk to a drowning accident attorney in Phoenix to discuss your options. Giving ELG a call at (623) 877-3600 is the best way to learn about who may be liable for your damages, so it’s never a bad idea to schedule a free consultation.