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Unusual Freshwater Near-Drowning Syndrome in a Hospitalized Postlobectomy Patient*

Helen Sogoloff, MD; Rafael Barrera, MD; Robert Ginsberg, MD, FCCP; Diane Stover, MD, FCCP
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*From the Pulmonary Critical Service (Dr. Sogoloff), Pulmonary Service, Department of Medicine; the International Oncology Program (Dr. Barrera); and the Division of General Medicine (Dr. Stover), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; and the Division of Thoracic Service (Dr. Ginsberg), Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, Canada.

Correspondence to: Rafael Barrera, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave, New York, NY 10021



Chest. 2001;120(3):1021-1022. doi:10.1378/chest.120.3.1021
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Near-drowning syndrome depends on the duration of submersion, the amount of fluid aspirated, and the severity of hypoxia. We report a case in which a patient developed ARDS shortly after undergoing a left upper lobectomy and a chest wall resection for a lung carcinoma. On further investigation, the ARDS was caused by near-drowning in a basin of freshwater: the patient’s face was submerged by the patient’s companion as part of a cultural tradition of trying to clean his lung. We believe that this case presents the etiology of freshwater near-drowning syndrome due to an ethnogenic practice not previously reported.

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