Lindsay Kujawa’s Story

Lindsay and her son Ronin were attending a birthday pool party and all seemed well until Lindsay turned her back on Ronin for 5 short seconds, and he found his way into the pool. To no fault of her own, Ronin was swept up in the jet current and was struggling to stay afloat. From the time Lindsay turned her back, to the time she yanked Ronin out of the pool, about 25 seconds had passed, however in this case it was enough to do damage.

After calming down, and getting dried off, Ronin had acted completely normal, if not a little subdued by the whole ordeal, but Lindsay felt confident that he was okay.


Upon arriving home shortly after the incident, Lindsay noticed that Ronin was not behaving like himself and exhibited a harsh cough later that afternoon. She called Ronin’s doctor and explained his symptoms briefly, and to Lindsay’s surprise she told Lindsay to take Ronin directly to the ER.

Ronin’s doctor was worried that he was experiencing secondary drowning. Ronin’s temperature was high and they ordered a chest X-ray right away along with blood tests.

It appeared that Ronin’s lungs aspirated and this could lead to pneumonitis and death from asphyxiation.


More tests were taken and Lindsay and her husband were told that all they could do at this point was wait and see.

It’s much more common than many parents think, and this lack of knowledge leads to many deaths in young children. In fact, when Lindsay arrived at the hospital the doctors were angry that Ronin hadn’t been brought in earlier because he was in such bad shape.

Lindsay along with most parents have no idea that secondary drowning even exists!

When new test results came back, they showed that the water in Ronin’s lungs was clearing, however he was suffering from chemical pneumonitis from the chemicals in the pool. This caused his lungs to become irritated and inflamed. After a couple days of rest and monitoring, Ronin woke up acting like his normal self. If Lindsay hadn’t thought to call her doctor and inquire about her son’s symptoms, there might have been a very different outcome.

Remember to always trust your instincts!

 What you should know about secondary drowning

  • Difficult to spot (children usually act fine after an incident)
  • The inhaled water blocks oxygen to the lungs in a very small dosage, so symptoms are never severe until it’s often too late.
  • Watch for sudden changes in personality, lethargic behaviour, energy levels dropping.
  • The sooner the better… do not hesitate to follow your instincts or call a health professional to ask questions.

For the original story, visit The Huffington Post

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