Busted star warns parents over secondary drowning after son diagnosed with condition

20 July 2022, 15:03 | Updated: 20 July 2022, 15:19

Busted star Charlie Simpson has warned parents over secondary drowning after his son was rushed to hospital with the condition.
Busted star Charlie Simpson has warned parents over secondary drowning after his son was rushed to hospital with the condition. Picture: Alamy/Instagram

By Lauren Lewis

Busted star Charlie Simpson has warned parents over secondary drowning after his son was rushed to hospital with the condition.

Simpson took to Instagram to share the terrifying ordeal with his youngest son Jago "in the hope that if it helps just one person avoid a similar situation, it will be worth it."

He said Jago was swimming underwater while the family was on holiday and came up spluttering and coughing.

The youngster initially appeared to recover and "was completely normal for the rest of the day", Mr Simpson said, but he later became lethargic and fell asleep before waking up and projectile vomiting.

A doctor told the couple Jago likely had food poisoning and told them to take him home, but Mr Simpson asked if it could possibly be a case of secondary drowning.

"After hearing this, his demeanour changed and he told us to go to A&E straight away," Mr Simpson said.

At hospital, doctors found Jago had water in his lungs and diagnosed him with secondary drowning - a condition caused when a person inhales water that ends up in their lungs causing irritation and fluid buildup.

It can lead to a potentially fatal condition called pulmonary edema, which causes heart problems and makes it difficult to breathe.

Jago spent three days in hospital following the diagnosis, Mr Simpson said, without giving details on his current condition.

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Mr Simpson said: "It was the worst thing we have ever experienced. The scariest thing of all, is that had we not taken him to hospital when we did, the outcome could have been very different.

"After doing a lot of research, secondary drowning is seemingly quite rare but even so, not talked about. It takes less than half a glass of inhaled water to drown.

"Symptoms can start as long as 72 hours after the event which can make them hard to diagnose. These include vomiting, fever, laboured breathing and lethargy.

"I truly hope no one ever has to experience this but I hope to be able to raise some awareness of this frightening condition in case they do."

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Mr Simpson wrote: "We were on holiday enjoying a morning in the pool. Jago is a strong for his age and he was swimming under water but suddenly came up spluttering and coughing.

"At no point was he left unattended, It was momentary, nothing seemingly unusual for kids to experience. We got him out and he seemed fine and happy and was completely normal for the rest of the day.

"At dinner he became very lethargic and went to sleep in my wife’s arms. After dinner he suddenly woke up and started projectile vomiting. We called a doctor immediately who initially diagnosed it as as food poisoning and advised that we put Jago to bed in our hotel room and keep an eye on him.

"Before the doctor left, I suddenly remembered Jago coughing in the pool that morning and I remembered reading about a condition called secondary drowning, so I relayed it to the doctor. After hearing this, his demeanour changed and he told us to go to A&E straight away.

"During the hour long journey to hospital, Jago’s condition deteriorated and he seemed to be drifting in and out of consciousness. He was rushed through to have CT scans and X-Rays and to our absolute horror, we were told that he had water in his lungs and was minutes away from pneumonia.

"Jago was diagnosed with secondary drowning. He spent the next three days in hospital and I’m so thankful for the amazing care he received."

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