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Dr. Das, MD
Dr. Das, MD, Doctor
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Drowning question I unfortunately lost a friend yesterday

Resolved Question:

Drowning question: I unfortunately lost a friend yesterday to a drowning accident. He pulled up a cover to a manhole to assist in draining the water out of his property. When he lifted the lid, he was forcefully pulled into the pipe. Almost eight hours later they found his body in the sewage tx plant. His body traveled two miles to the end. Drowning is probably my biggest fear in life and I cannot get the thought of this accident out of my mind. My question to you is, typically hoe many minutes does it take until you are unconcious and unaware that you are about to die. I know cold water submersion is a little different, but this was warm fresh water filled with sewerage. Thank you.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Das, MD replied 5 years ago.

Drowning has two processes - one is the initial active process when the person is still conscious and aware of being suffocated. The second stage is the passive drowning phase when the person is unconscious.

Once the active drowning process begins, it typically only takes 20 seconds to 1 minute for a person to become a passive drowning victim which then means they will be unconscious.

If the person is not pulled from the water and given medical care then they will die within 1 minute, the person will generally die.

It is not actually the water in the lungs that will kill the person. When they become passive they are no longer breathing and without oxygen their heart will stop beating then depleting the entire body of oxygen which will lead to death.

I hope this helps.

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