Posted on August 11, 2011 · Posted in Brain Injury

Near Drowning Victim Awakes, Talks to Brave Rescuer

Hero. That is one word that describes 12 year old Nicole Kissel. She went out into heavy surf and braved rip tides on her wake board off the Washington coast to rescue a boy Charles ‘Dale’ Ostrander, 12, whom she saw flailing in the water. Once on the wake board, the two pre-teens attempted to paddle to shore when a wave knocked them both off and into the water. Nicole could not find Dale in the water and returned to shore.

A rescue team had been summoned and eventually found Dale floating two to three feet below the surface. By all indications, Dale appeared to be dead. CPR was administered on the way to the hospital. Suddenly, he regained his pulse. Five days later, in an ICU, Dale began talking to his parents. And to his rescuer whom he told her “Thank you”. It was the second team of rescuers that estimated that Dale had been submerged for at least 15 minutes. Doctors cautioned the family of Dale that being drowned for that period of time would leave him with brain damage. The doctors indicated factors in Dale’s favor following a near-death drowning are length of time in the water, cold temperature of the water, young age of the survivor and that Dale had on a long sleeve shirt to keep of his body temperature up. Odds of traumatic brain injury lessen in many near-drowning victims when CPR is administered immediately. The fact that a little girl risked her own life to save the life of another is a testimony to her bravery. Even though Dale and Nicole got wiped out off of her boogie board, the time that Dale spent out of the water saved his life.


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447