Health Female Adda
9 months ago
Everything you needed to know about accidental drowning!

After the media could uncover Sridevi’s death certificate, the internet and public, in general, went into the frenzy. People came out with their own forensic analysis to justify that there was foul play behind her death. Some questioned how can an adult drown in a bathtub? Some questioned if the term accidental drowning even exists. Most of these speculations were revolving around the belief that the death wasn’t natural and the official report was far from the truth.

To put this mass agitation over accidental drowning and the mockery around her death to rest, we tried to speak to an expert and get answers on the same, Dr Vikrant Shah, Physician, Intensivist and infectious disease specialist, Zen Hospital, Mumbai did tell us that there exists a term called accidental drowning in medical textbooks and it is possible for an adult to drown in a bathtub. Read the detailed interview here.

However, if that is not enough here Dr K K Aggarwal, Padma Shri awardee, President HCFI and Immediate past national President IMA tell us more about drowning

  1. Drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death
  2. Risk factors for drowning include the use of alcohol and illicit drugs, hypothermia, seizures, and developmental disorders.
  3. Drowning ultimately produces tissue hypoxia, which affects virtually all tissues and organs within the body.
  4. First aid: If the patient does not respond to the delivery of two rescue breaths that make the chest rise, the rescuer should immediately begin performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  5. The Heimlich manoeuvre a first-aid procedure for dislodging an obstruction from a person’s windpipe in which a sudden strong pressure is applied on their abdomen, between the navel and the ribcage or other postural drainage techniques to remove water from the lungs are of no proven value, and rescue breathing should not be delayed in order to perform these manoeuvres.
  6. Complete recovery of a patient with hypothermia and cardiac arrest has been well documented despite prolonged resuscitation (sometimes up to several hours).

What happens to someone who dies due to drowning?

When the body of a person who drowns is recovered here are the physical signs that you can be certain of:

  • Fine, white, leathery, copious froth or foam tinged with blood, seen at the mouth and nostrils (Froth is of lasting nature and large in quantity),
  • Cadaveric spasm of hands, which means your hands turn lifeless and rigid.
  • Finding of diatoms by microscopic examination of tissues from brain, liver and bone marrow of long bones: such as femur, tibia, and humerus or sternum.
  • Presence of water in stomach and intestines
  • The voluminous waterlogged lungs
  • The presence of fine froth in lungs and air passages

What are the causes of drowning in the bathtub?

Yes, people can die in the bathtub and here are few reasons for the same:

  1. The bathtub is the most common site of seizure-induced drowning, and patients with epilepsy should be told to take showers instead of baths.
  2. Heart attack leading to syncope and subsequent falling in the tub. A gasping patient with ventricular arrhythmia will end up with drowning. In the post-mortem, the coronary arteries will show plaque and rupture of the plaque.
  3. Undetected primary cardiac arrhythmia is a common cause of drowning. As an example, cold water immersion and exercise can cause fatal arrhythmias in patients with the congenital long QT syndrome type 1.
  4. Mutations in the cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR)-2 gene, which is associated with familial polymorphic VT in the absence of structural heart disease or QT prolongation, have been identified in some individuals with unexplained drowning.
  5. Duration of submersion of more than five minutes (most critical factor).
  6. Use of alcohol and illicit drugs (more than 50 percent of adult drowning deaths are believed to be alcohol-related).
  7. Hypothermia, which can lead to rapid exhaustion or cardiac arrhythmias.
  8. Concomitant trauma, paralysis or heart attack.
  9. Sudden death in a hot bathtub occurs frequently, particularly among elderly people.

Image source: Shutterstock


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