Pool Drain Disembowelment

Article posted on:11/16/2007

The family of a 6 year old girl who was severely injured after sitting on an open drain in a shallow country club pool filed a lawsuit this week against the club and pool manufacturer. The girl who lost part of her intestinal tract in the incident faces a small intestine transplant and lifetime medical expenses that could total tens of millions of dollars, said an attorney for the family. The girl requires a backpack with one tube carrying nutrients to her chest and another tube carrying predigested food to her stomach. She wears a colostomy bag and must attend school with a nurse. The lawsuit seeks damages for future medical costs and for the pool manufacturer to remove the pool cover from the market. Several states have passed pool safety laws after children drowned or were disemboweled by drain suction. North Carolina, for example, requires pools to have dual drains to prevent such injuries.

Sadly, each year, hundreds of children are killed or injured in pool drain-related incidents.  In many instances, the vacuum effect of the pool drain holds swimmers, especially children, to the bottom of a pool.  Contact with a pool drain by a child can result in suction that equates to roughly hundreds of pounds of pressure holding the child to the pool's bottom.  In one well documented case, four adult males were  unable to successfully pull a young girl off a drain on the pool bottom due to the extreme suction forces being generated by the pool drain.  In another case, a young boy died following the drain cap coming off of the drain and he being exposed to the suction forces of the drain itself. 

In 2007, Congress passed a Pool and Spa Safety Act to provide drain safety standards for dangerous drain suction for the nation's public and hotel pools.  These standards, however, need not be adopted by private pools.  More recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the governmental body charged with overseeing these drain failures, ruled that certain larger rounded drain covers adequately protect children against the forces of suction and that these covers should be installed in pools instead of the older versions.  Once again, however, it is unclear whether private pools will be retrofitted with these covers like the public or hotel pools.  

The lawyers at STSW have had success in litigating cases both against public and private pools owners as well as pool manufacturers in instances in which the victim has experienced injury as the result of a suction-type force holding him / her to the pool bottom.  Because these injuries typically result in the loss of oxygen to the brain for a considerable period of time, victims often experience significant brain injuries and/or cognitive injuries that, in turn, result in the need for a lifetime of future care.  These costs can add up and be financially ruinous on a family charged with caring for this child.  If you or a loved one have been the victim of negligence relating to a pool-type injury, call our team for a free consultation or visit our website to set up your free consultation.   410-385-2225.