Family warns of 'dry drowning' after son unexpectedly dies

Violet Tucker
June 10, 2017

Delgado says he called 911 after his son stopped breathing.

In an emotional plea, Tara and Francisco Delgado Jr. are urging other parents to take their kid's common symptoms seriously.

Although the autopsy results on the boy are still pending, his doctors have already confirmed Frankie's death to be due to "dry drowning", which supposedly happens when an individual has a severe reaction to water irritating the larynx, leaving them unable to properly supply the lungs with air.

Francisco Delgado Jr., Frankie's father, said don't take anything for granted. They have different causes and symptoms. Dr. Leaming-Van Zandt said children can drown in just inches of water. The water never reaches the lungs, but it causes the vocal chords to spasm and tighten, eventually shutting down the airway.

"When you get some water in your lungs significant enough that can cause either pneumonitis, chemical burn actually in your lung, from the pool water or in cases where it's a river or ocean you might get bacteria in there". Wally Ghurabi, medical director Nethercutt Emergency Center, UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica, who did not treat Frankie.

Delgado warned that dry drowning is "real" and it "could happen to anyone".

Dr. Kay Leaming-Van Zandt said she was cautious to use the term "dry drowning", explaining that parents need to be aware of the dangers of drowning in even a few inches of water.

"You end up with an infection with fluid in your lungs", Ghurabi said.

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The CDC says dry or secondary drowning make up only one to two percent of drowning deaths, but it's important to know the symptoms.

"They are breathing faster", said Ghurabi. "You see them working hard".

The best way to prevent dry and secondary drowning?

"When she came in, she told us it's what's called dry drowning".

Without getting a proper treatment from dry drowning, Frankie died in his bed, and his parents found out about the existence of such a thing as dry drowning too late.

Ghurabi also urges parents to pay attention to their children while swimming.

"It's very unusual for the child to have absolutely no symptoms, but they may go to bed and in the middle of the night have trouble breathing", Purva told USA Today.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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