Louis Lowenthal Autopsy Details

headline deleted per content below
February 12, 2013
Dam of Silence Is Breaking for North Baltimore Aquatic Club Parents
February 13, 2013

The Louis Lowenthal autopsy report from the Maryland medical examiner’s office arrived in yesterday’s mail. Lowenthal, 14, drowned in the pool of the Meadowbrook Aquatic Center while swimming alone following a North Baltimore Aquatic Club practice last October. He was pronounced dead three days later.

For now, I’ve decided not to upload the eight-page report. I may change my mind later. So far neither the Baltimore media nor the national swimming media have shown any enterprise on this horrifying lapse in basic safety by the most celebrated program in USA Swimming.

Here are the key points:

– The young man had acute hypoxic ischemic encephelopathy: cutoff of oxygen to the brain.

– He had severe cerebral edema: swelling of the brain from fluid leakage.

– The pressure caused massive inflammation, ruptures, and hemorrhaging of the sinuses, the mastoid bones behind the ears, amd other areas.

The clinical details make for brutal reading, even months later and third-hand and by someone who didn’t know the victim. The first experts I’ve consulted are of the firm opinion that these levels of damage are consistent with accounts from some sources that Lowenthal was at the bottom of the pool, unnoticed for a long time (eight minutes? 12 minutes? longer?) before a lifeguard was summoned and he was pulled out, in cardiopulmonary arrest. Though “resuscitated” and taken to the hospital, that was likely a formality, as it seems impossible he was not already brain-dead or close to it.

Under Maryland law, a public pool owner is required to have “at least one lifeguard on duty on the deck observing the pool while an individual is in the pool.” In addition, a drowning “that results in death or that requires resuscitation or admission to a hospital” must be reported within 24 hours to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. I’ll have more on these angles of the story as coverage continues on the clearly avoidable death of Louis Lowenthal.



Irv Muchnick

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick