A day of fun in the sun turned out to be a tragic day for the family of this young boy. This nightmare may be quite upsetting, but, we felt you should be aware of what happened because, for this family, it came out of nowhere, and they shared their story to warn other families of this strange and deadly possibility.
10-year-old Johnny Jackson was enjoying a day at the pool in Goose Creek, SC. It must have seemed like a perfectly normal summer day until Johnny’s mother noticed her son acting strangely…
Johnny was coughing up water which, in an of itself, is not terribly unusual if you’ve been playing around in the pool. Johnny’s mother, Cassandra Jackson, did not see this as a particularly ominous sign. Would you have thought anything was really, really wrong?
Johnny got out of the pool and complained about feeling tired. What does a mother do? Probably just what Cassandra did. She toweled him off, took him home, had him clean up, and let him to go to bed. When Cassandra went to check on him, he looked blue and there was white foam coming from his mouth. The paramedics were called and, sadly, Johnny went into cardiac arrest during transport to the hospital and passed away.
Medical authorities told Cassandra that Johnny’s death was the result of “delayed drowning” (which is different from “dry drowning” as many accounts of this story falsely claim caused Johnny’s death). This condition occurs hours after water is trapped in the lungs. All that coughing Johnny had been doing at the pool, apparently, did not release all the water that had flowed into his system. Can you imagine how devastating this would be… how sudden?
Delayed or secondary drowning symptoms include respiratory distress and extreme fatigue… and, sadly, sometimes these symptoms result in death, though, not always. We want you to know the signs and precautionary measures and, of course, to understand that this is absolutely not an everyday occurrence… just something worth bearing in mind.
If your child has breathed in water, doctors would recommend bringing him or her to the hospital. Period. The easily overlooked symptoms of delayed drowning are the frequent coughing spells, lethargy, and quick changes in mood. It’s reasonable to think nothing of them since a day swimming in the sun can be tiring for anyone…
Pediatrician from NYU, Dr. Daniel Rauch, would recommend parents remain on watch for these symptoms up to 24 hours after spending time in the water. He would strongly urge medical attention if parents observe excessive fatigue, breathing difficulties, and adjustments in behavior. Here’s one detail to give you an example of strange behavior…
Johnny supposedly soiled himself in the pool before he got out which could have been the result of brain malfunction from a lack of oxygen. Other symptoms include sudden changes in mood. If something just seems out of the normal, it might be worth a trip to the doctor ASAP.
It’s recommended to really pay attention to your child at the pool or the beach to see how he or she is playing to see if they are inhaling an excessive amount of water. No one wants to turn you into an alarmist, but, being vigilant and knowing what to look for could prevent a potential tragedy.
Knowledge is power – educate yourself and your kids about how to be safe when playing in the water including keeping their mouths closed when jumping or diving into water.