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One boy’s ‘dry drowning’ death helped save another boy’s life

Posted at 3:19 PM, Jun 13, 2017

FORT COLLINS, Colorado — The tragic death of 4-year-old Frankie Delgado, suspected to be from “dry drowning,” has saved another little boy, Gio Vega, according to his father.

Garon Vega’s 2-year-old son, Gio, became ill at night after inhaling water at their Colorado community pool earlier in the day, Vega told CNN affiliate KTRK-TV. Vega had read Frankie’s story and noticed that his son was showing some of the same symptoms: shortness of breath, fever and coughing.

Vega rushed his son to the emergency room, where doctors informed him that his son was actually drowning, hours after he left the water.

“Dry drowning,” also called secondary drowning, occurs when someone inhales water into their lungs but isn’t affected until after the person has left the water they were swimming in. This causes the heart to slow and lungs to swell as the swimmer’s blood oxygen level drops. This can lead to cardiac arrest.

“The X-rays did show that he had a significant amount of water in lungs, and that it was a good thing that we brought him in because if we hadn’t have, he wouldn’t have made it through the night,” Vega told KTRK.

Frankie Delgado’s story began in a similar way. He was playing in knee-deep water when a wave knocked him over, but the preschooler said he was fine. Around a week later, he was rushed to the hospital when he stopped breathing. Medical staff tried for an hour, but were unable to resuscitate him. He was pronounced dead.

“He looked at me, and he just rolled his eyes back and took a deep breath. I was like ‘Frankie, what’s wrong,’ and I got up real quick, and I saw that he took a breath but never exhaled.” Frankie’s father, Francisco Delgado, told CNN last week. Frankie’s funeral was held over the weekend.

The official cause of Frankie’s death is pending, according to the medical examiner’s office in Harris County, Texas, but they suspect dry drowning.

Vega is grateful that he was able to save his son’s life.

“I feel like I needed to reach out to the parents of little Frankie and tell him, I don’t know how to word it but, their little boy saved our little boy’s life,” Vega said. “There was a purpose.”