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Near Drowning and Hyperbaric Oxygen | Print |

 Near Drowns/Anoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Victims of Near Drowning episodes are usually children. The time under water and the temperature of the water determine the degree of damage suffered by the individual. The cooler the water the better, since cold water can slow down the body’s metabolism allowing for the brain to use less O2.

There are cases on record where a child fell through ice and was resuscitated nearly 30 minutes later with no symptoms of anoxia because of the very cold water effect on the metabolism.

Lack of oxygen when complicated by cardiac arrest worsens the damage of near drowning because of the inflammatory response following loss of cellular nutrients and oxygen.

I have had the opportunity to treat many children who have survived drowning events. Some children I have seen 9 years after of their incident and some as early as 60 days following the drowning incident. Not one child presented the same degree of symptoms. Some had undergone surgical procedures such as installing Baclofen pumps, Tracheotomies, G tubes, tendon lengthening, rhizotomies, serial casting, Fundoplycations, splinting to hands and AFO’s to feet, etc, etc. Most were placed on powerful medications to reduce muscle spasms, seizure disorders, etc. Usually it is after some or all of the aforementioned has occurred that I get a call about someone’s child.

Rafy Cruz

Jacob Armacost

Greyson Kimball


Georiana Rosario


You are about to learn about Neuroplasticity and Neuro-Rehabiliation that is performed at Cralle Physical Therapy Services. You will also read of the experiences of these courageous parents, the mistakes they feel they have made in attempting to better the quality of life for their children that can only be shared by those who found themselves where you may be right now. No therapist, including myself, doctor or other counselor can provide more meaningful information than the experiences of the mothers and fathers who have been there done that. (A list of contact numbers is provided so that you can get in touch with these families who are happy to share their experiences with you.)

My 40 years as a Physical Therapist has taught me that many things that are commonly being done in rehabilitation are either counter productive, contraindicated or are done to conform to “standards of practice” to avoid potential legal ramifications from not blindly following protocols instead of patient needs.

Thanks to all the miraculous advances in medicine, and the wonders of trauma teams, many individuals are alive today who wouldn’t have had a chance for survival only a few years ago. Nowhere are these advances more visible than on the front lines of our military where our fighting forces are surviving terrible injuries not possible or perhaps not conceivable in VietNam.

Today, people who would have bled to death or died from other causes are saved and because of this created the signature injury of the war in Iraq- Concussive injuries to the brain. A good number of these brave men and women have no visible injury to their bodies. These blast injuries have a lot in common to near drown injuries to the brain in as much that the damage from anoxia (drowning) can be in numerous areas in the brain instead of the site specific injuries often associated with Traumatic Brain injures.

My comments about Neuro-Rehabilitation of course are regarding patients who have survived and been kept alive because of those very competent people. First, overwhelming evidence supports the rational for Hyperbaric Oxygen being delivered in the first 3 to 4 hours of the anoxic event. Anoxic means without oxygen, so to provide oxygen to this tissue ASAP just makes sense! More important is that the evidence is clear that Oxygen delivery during this time stops the inflammatory response of the body to the injury of anoxia.

The first thing to recognize is there is no expert when it comes to facing these complex problems or the problems would be solved. This is why the parent/consumer of this cascade of information you are exposed to are so important in determining what seems to work and what does not.

Please understand we are not being heroic, nor are the health care professionals advising you “wrong” or “bad” people. They advise based on their own experience, training and viewpoints and most of these people are being truthful.


For more detailed information and studies please see the list below.

**** Please note: The information below is for educational purposes only. We want to help you to make an educated decision about your health care. Please consult a physician before pursuing any kind of therapy.

A prescription is required for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.




ORCCA Hyperbaric Oxygen Delray Beach, Florida

Cralle Physical Therapy Website Hope Springs Website

            525 NE 3rd Avenue, #107
             Delray Beach, FL 33444




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