Epidemiology of Hospitalization for Near-Drowning

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Abstract

Background.

Although drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death among children less than 4 years of age, few studies have described the hospitalization of neardrowning victims. Our study emphasizes the local epidemiology and charges associated with pediatric hospitalization in cases of near-drowning.

Methods.

Data regarding time, place, injury severity, circumstances, outcome, and hospital charges were collected by retrospective medical record review. Cross tabulation of datasets with descriptive statistical analysis was done using R:Base System V.

Results.

Between 1987 and 1991, 53 victims of near-drowning were admitted or transferred to Children's Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham. Thirty-three of the incidents occurred during the months of June, July, and August; 32 occurred in pools, 11 in lakes and rivers, 6 in bathtubs, 3 in mop buckets, and 1 in a cesspool. The mean hospital stay was 8 days (combined total, 439 days), accounting for total charges of $749,507 (mean $14,141). Outcomes included 15 deaths, 5 discharges with neurologic sequelae, and 33 discharges without sequelae. Private insurance covered 31 patients, 7 were Medicaid patients, and 15 had no coverage.

Conclusion.

Near-drowning injuries have high case fatality rates, a high case sequelae rate, and high hospitalization charges.

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