The website https://vimeo.com/113012121   has a useful lecture on drowning pre-hospital care that  Chantelle (diver medic) shared with us. I’m not sure I agree with all of it such as the volumes of water in stomach and lungs present during autopsies. But the resuscitation info is great. Lots of useful info.

Some things to note: Fluid present in the lungs is not the volume of fluid aspirated during the drowning process. Inhaled, aspirated, fluid can wash away surfactant, which turns the one-cell thick alveolar walls into permeable membranes. This allows aspirated fluid to move from the alveoli to the circulatory system through osmosis, and likewise allows blood fluids to move from the pulmonary capillaries into the lungs. Also, I’m not seeing  significantly more fluid volumes in the stomachs of decedents who have drowned than of those who died of other cases. I’m certainly not seeing a liter commonly. I am getting that from attending autopsies and reading hundreds of reports with drowning as cause of death. I’ve read fewer emergency department hospital reports, but of the one’s I’ve read that describe stomach contents when the contents were emptied, I don’t recall seeing unusually large volumes of water.  I really would like to know where this concept comes from.  It is possible that the water diffuses out of the stomach post mortem- so then the ED reports become important.  EMS and first responder reports do often describe water coming out of the mouth of people pulled out of water – so perhaps that is why we’re not seeing large volumes in autopsy reports, but I have found no literature documenting volumes of water coming out of the mouths of victims. In regards to autopsies, I would say that a liter of fluid is not common. What are you seeing?  Click this link to e-mail me your thoughts and comments.

Andrea

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