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PSA: Drowning does NOT look like it does in the movies

  1. Jul 5, 2012 #1
    This is a sad story, but I hope in sharing it that somebody's life can be saved.

    My father was out on his boat this weekend, and on his way back to the dock, he saw a jet ski with no rider, and a man in the water not far from it with no life jacket. He didn't look like he was in any kind of trouble; he was not shouting for help or struggling or anything like that, so my father assumed he just jumped in the water to cool off. My father says he was no more than 50 feet from the guy as he went by.

    My father went back out to his boat yesterday to make some repair before taking my brother and his friends out to see fireworks. They were dredging for the jet ski man's body. My father is beating himself up over this because he could have saved this man's life if only he had realized he was in trouble. He expected somebody drowning to look like they do in the movies.

    One of the key signs that somebody is drowning is that they DON'T look like they do in the movies. They're not thrashing around or calling for help or struggling. This article describes what drowning DOES look like: http://gcaptain.com/drowning/?10981

    And here are some tips on exactly what to look for, from the same article:

    I hope the opportunity for you to use this information never happens, but if it does, I hope this saves a life.
     
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  3. Jul 5, 2012 #2

    Ryan_m_b

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    What a tragic story, I hope your dad knows it's not his fault. I'm definitely going to keep this in mind and mention it whenever the topic comes up.
     
  4. Jul 5, 2012 #3

    jedishrfu

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    Thank you, I didn't know this.
     
  5. Jul 5, 2012 #4

    Curious3141

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    There are too many things the movies and TV shows get wrong to mention. Some of them are dangerous: for example, they routinely shock flatlines on medical shows. Medical students (and even junior doctors!) have actually got the wrong idea after having watched this and attempted this practice on real, live patients. :rolleyes:

    It's not just crazy stunts that need disclaimers, it seems.
     
  6. Jul 5, 2012 #5

    Ryan_m_b

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    I definitely agree with this last statement. That and there should be some sort of movement to encourage better accuracy in medical, life saving and survival programs especially. That way if a popular show about doctors/lifeguards/mountain climbers heads off the rails it wont misinform dangerously.

    For fans of house there's an entire site dedicated to it's mistakes on an episode by episode basis. http://www.politedissent.com/house_pd.html
     
  7. Jul 5, 2012 #6

    jedishrfu

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    the tv series macgyver was to bend the truth a bit. However producers put a good spin on it saying they didnt want kids to imitate the macgyver tricks so steps and some ingredients were intentionally left out.

    The Numb3rs series also bent the truth a bit as they would add in the math component after the story was defined meaning the math didnt always fit well with the story.

    Some years ago there was a show on where they actually performed a drowning to show people what the signs were using a professional rescue swimmer in a swimming pool.

    Lastly, here's more info on drowning:

    http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/drowning-doesn't-look-like-it-does-on-tv [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Jul 5, 2012 #7

    Curious3141

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    I'm a fan of House, and yes, I've posted comments on numerous episodes (not under this nick, though).
     
  9. Jul 5, 2012 #8
    Wow, I had know idea.

    Thanks so much for posting this story. I had know idea and would have assumed the chaotic movie scenario, exactly like your father had.

    Very unfortunate, I hope your father's guilt eases.
     
  10. Jul 5, 2012 #9

    lisab

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    I agree, it's very good information. I guess I've never really thought about how to recognize a drowning person.
     
  11. Jul 5, 2012 #10
    Where I live (Ottawa) there are many areas along the Ottawa River that people frequent (including vacationers). The river has many dangerous areas that drown even experienced swimmers.

    Just this past weekend two 20 somethings drowned. I think I may email the local papers regarding the "Signs of drowning". I never read that in all of the reporting done of such incidents as mentioned above.

    That story has a lesson in itself as well. It is suspected one drowned will trying to save the other. Not surprisingly, the person drowning inadvertently can easily drown the one trying to do the "rescue".

    Fighting for ones life, the adrenaline ect I can see how this could happen. (Pulling the "rescuer" down while trying to keep them self above the water ect)
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  12. Jul 5, 2012 #11
    Over here last year 22 deaths total attributed to drowning, This year already 40 from rivers to lakes to pools. The last one a six month old todler in a pool. And summer is not yet over.
     
  13. Jul 5, 2012 #12

    Evo

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    Excellent information, but we also shouldn't ignore the crucial first moments of distress before actual drowning where the person is flailing and calling out in distress either. Don't think that these people are not going to die because they can still move and call out.
     
  14. Jul 5, 2012 #13

    DaveC426913

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    Thanks Jack. You're right. I never thought about how actual drowning looks. But of course it's right.

    This is a good thing for someone to know who is both a scuba diver and a sailor.
     
  15. Jul 5, 2012 #14

    turbo

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    In Maine, early-summer drowning can be a very quiet experience. Fall into very cold water, can't breathe, and can't call for help. As a white-water enthusiast, I was be very mindful of any person who was in the river, even if they did not appear to be distressed. People in thermal shock can't call for help often, and they can get passive pretty quickly.

    I have used my throw-bag more times than I can remember.
     
  16. Jul 5, 2012 #15
    Agreed. He even addresses that in the article. People who do that will then end up in the state that I described. But not everybody goes through that flailing and calling out period.

    The article says:
     
  17. Jul 5, 2012 #16

    Evo

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    I guess I'm afraid because I have a phobia of getting water in my face. I could quickly drown. I cannot swim if water hits my face, a couple of seconds of thrashing and I'd start drowning.

    I guess that it's a really tough call. What harm is it to ask anyone if they need help?"
     
  18. Jul 6, 2012 #17

    Monique

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    I looked up the exact same topic a few days ago and was shocked by that same message "drowning doesn't look like it does in the movies". I had always assumed it would be clear when someone is drowning, but clearly it isn't.

    The reason I looked up drowning is that there was a case in the news of a 11-year old boy drowning before his mother's eyes. He was swimming after a floating device when he disappeared in the water. The mother immediately tried to recover the boy, but they didn't find him until over an hour later. I was amazed that it could happen so quickly and that so little could be done, I never realized that drowning could be such a unnoticeable event.
     
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