Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Drowning does not look like drowning (reprise)

Back in 2010, I published a story entitled "Drowning does not look like drowning," based on a note sent to me by Jim Weadick, CEO of Newton Medical Center, in Covington, Ga.  The key phrase:  This article is on what it looks like when someone is drowning. It's not like in the movies.  

It's a good time for a reminder now that summer is here.  Mario Vittone has republished the article in Slate.  Excerpt:

The Instinctive Drowning Response . . . is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.

So if a crew member falls overboard and everything looks OK—don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all—they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents—children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

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