Objective To determine complications and outcome of near-drowning patients hospitally treated on the island of Kos, Dodekanisa, Greece.
Materials and Methods A 5-year retrospective analysis of the experience obtained by hospitalising 18 children—victims of accidental “near drowning” during 2003–8. We reviewed medical records of these patients. All of them were withdrawn from the water apnoeic, resuscitated at the site of the accident and transferred by ambulance taking oxygen through a facial mask on the way.
Results Mean age of the victims was 5.5 years, 70% were male and 30% female. Incidents occurred 82% in swimming pools and 18% on the beach. Traumatic injury of the spinal cord was documented in only one case of an older child through diving. Complications in our patients included pulmonary oedema (36%) and lung infection (50%). No patient demonstrated neurological symptoms or sequelae. Luckily, there were no fatal cases. Transportation to a bigger hospital was determined in four cases (22%) concerning foreign children to their countries, according to the parents’ wishes. The rest were discharged after an average of 72 h under continuous electrocardiographic monitoring and SaO2.
Conclusions The good outcome of our patients was attributed to early resuscitation, early oxygen application and the individualised treatment. Transportation from the island is not an easy task and is limited in cases that need advanced treatment. However, we recommend “intensive care-like” nursing of these patients, even if they look stable and we once more raise the question of inadequate adult supervision.