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Little Alexander's struggle: Near drowning leaves 3-year-old with numerous medical issues

June 16th, 2014 9:44 am by Angie Gambill, Editor, The Tomahawk

Little Alexander's struggle: Near drowning leaves 3-year-old with numerous medical issues

Alexander Espinoza

MOUNTAIN CITY — Every parent’s nightmare became a reality for Mario and Julie Ramsey Espinoza on April 2nd of this year when their 3-year-old son, Alexander, was pulled from a swimming pool, unconscious and not breathing. The child was airlifted to the Johnson City Medical Center where he was placed on life support in the intensive care unit. His family waited and prayed for seven long, agonizing days for a sign of improvement from little Alex. Miraculously, he not only regained consciousness and was removed from life support but was discharged from the hospital 12 days later.

Although the Espinoza family is very grateful to still have their son with them, the incident did leave its mark on Alex. He has been plagued with abdominal and silent seizures and according to his neurologist is showing signs that his brain was affected by lack of oxygen during the time under water. “Sometimes he bangs his head on the wall, and he has been drooling. He didn’t do either of these things before the accident,” says his mother, Julie. She also reports panic attacks, nightmares and behavioral issues associated with the traumatic experience he endured.

Initially, Alex’s parents thought he had fallen into the water while trying to retrieve a ball from a four-foot in-ground pool. Family members say that he and his cousins were playing with the ball earlier in the day when it was accidentally knocked into the water. They believed he went back after it later and fell in trying to reach it. However, now the neurologist treating Alex says they may never know for sure if the seizures he is suffering from were caused by the accident, or if the fall into the water might have actually been caused by a seizure. Julie says they never knew he was seizing prior to this, if indeed he was. Since the episodes are largely unnoticeable to the untrained eye, simply appearing that the child has zoned out of what is going on around him and staring for a brief amount of time, they are often not detected immediately.

Our partners at The Tomahawk have more on Alexander's story.

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