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How near-drowning incidents can result in brain damage

Whether you work on a fishing vessel, captain a charter recreational ship or service offshore oil rigs, your frequent exposure to open water can leave you at risk of a drowning incident. Drowning or near-drowning can occur in a variety of circumstances and can have lasting medical consequences for the victim.

Even people who are proficient swimmers can wind up dragged underwater by heavy equipment or clothing or exhausted after hours of treading water without rescue. Those who experience near-drowning incidents or who get resuscitated after drowning often have serious medical consequences, including lung infections. What people often don’t realize is the potential for brain damage that also occurs when someone drowns.

Cerebral hypoxia can cause permanent damage to the brain

Your brain is an intricate device that depends on the flow of blood to sustain it with life-supporting oxygen. Without an ongoing supply of oxygen, brain cells will begin dying, potentially resulting in brain damage that impacts anything from personality and motor function to balance and memory.

Most lifeguards are familiar with the rule that resuscitation needs to begin before the victim has been underwater for five minutes. That five-minute mark is usually the point at which cerebral hypoxia begins resulting in brain damage.

The longer someone spends unconscious or underwater, the greater the risk of brain damage and the more severe that damage may become. Connecting the various symptoms of a brain injury to cerebral hypoxia and workplace drowning incidents will be the first step toward seeking compensation for the impact of those injuries on your life. Unlike land-based injuries on the job, there are often special steps required for those who need compensation after a maritime injury.