A Texas family lost their 4-year-old son several days after he swam in a local Texas dike, in what medical professionals are calling a "dry drowning."
Francisco Delgado Jr. told KHOU he took his family to the Texas City Dike over Memorial Day Weekend where his son, Frankie, swam in the water. For the next several days, Frankie exhibited signs similar to a stomach illness -- vomiting and diarrhea. Delgado says he called 911 after his son stopped breathing.
Doctors found fluid in Frankie's lungs, describing a condition known as "dry drowning." It can occur hours or days after a person inhales water, often affecting young children.
The Delgado family told KTRK that Frankie complained of an upset stomach shortly after swimming during the family trip but they did not think it was reason for concern. Nearly a week later, Frankie complained one evening that his shoulders hurt, later waking up in the middle of the night.
"Out of nowhere, he just woke up. He said ahhh," said Delgado. "He took his last breath and I didn't know what to do no more."
Dr. Kay Leaming-Van Zandt said she was cautious to use the term "dry drowning," explaining that parents need to be aware of the dangers of drowning in even a few inches of water. They may also exhibit symptoms several hours after the initial contact with the water.
"Some children will have symptoms soon after the drowning occurs. Some children will have symptoms later on. They may seem fine. They develop respiratory issues hours after the event," said Leaming-Van Zandt. "It only takes a split second. Drowning is silent. It's not similar to what you see in the movies where there is a lot of commotion."
Doctors will perform an autopsy to confirm the cause of death.
"I walked in. I could see him lying there," said Frankie's mother, Tara Delgado. "They were still working on him. I'm screaming. Let me just touch my baby. Maybe he needs his mama's touch," she said, describing the scene as paramedics and doctors tried to revive her son.
"When she came in, she told us it's what's called dry drowning. His lungs were full of fluid. There was nothing else they could do for him."
The Delgados have set up a GoFundMe page to help defray the unexpected medical costs.
"There are no words to describe how heartbroken we are over the passing of Baby Frankie," reads the donation page. "He was only 4 years old, he had so much life to live. He was loved by so many people, his love for Baseball was endless. The world lost a beautiful soul."