Boy, 4, Suddenly Dies of Possible 'Dry Drowning' Week After Swim

One family is mourning the loss of their 4-year-old son after doctors say he passed away from "dry drowning" a week after swimming.

Francisco Delgado III reportedly went swimming at the Texas City Dike over the Memorial Day weekend. "He said, 'Ahhh", Delgado told the news outlet.

Delgado said his son started showing symptoms of a stomach bug for several days after the swim, but the family didn't think much of it.

"Out of nowhere, he just woke up".

"I walked in. I could see him lying there; they were still working on him", his mother, Tara Delgado, told CBS affiliate KHOU. "I feel like I needed to reach out to the parents of little Frankie and tell them, I don't know how to word it, but their little boy saved our little boy's life", Vega said. Doctors discovered fluid around Frankie's heart and lungs leading them to conclude he had died from dry drowning.

Unlike deaths that happened in pools, lakes and at the beach, dry drowning can occur hours, even days, after a person inhales water.

The symptoms include coughing, chest pain, trouble breathing, and feeling very exhausted, according to WebMD. The family has created a GoFundMe account to help cover funeral costs.

Dr. Douglas said dry drowning in children is extremely rare. USA Today spoke with Purva Grover, the medical director of the Cleveland Clinic Children's pediatric emergency told parents that when their kids have a "near-drowning event...get professional opinion" immediately.

"You have to trust your parental instinct and say this isn't normal", said Dr. Alexander.

WebMD said only about 1 - 2 percent of drownings happen from dry drowning or secondary drowning.

It is a rare condition, but one that can take the life of young children. This condition differs from secondary drowning in that symptoms show almost immediately after the incident, where secondary drowning may take more time to show symptoms. He died last week, and doctors suspect it was dry drowning.

Secondary drowning happens when someone swallows water and it gets trapped in the lungs, which causes inflammation and produces fluid. If you see any in your child, take him to the hospital.

  • Larry Hoffman