Skip Navigation

MUSC News Center

MUSC pediatric emergency doctor raises awareness about drowning prevention

Staff reports | MUSC News Center | June 18, 2014

MUSC Pediatric Emergency Dr. BorgDr. Keith Borg (center, wearing sunglasses) meets with lifeguards and emergency rescue officials at the Isle of Palms to run through a mock simulation of a drowning victim.
Dawn Brazell/Photos 

Keith Borg M.D., Ph.D., MUSC division chief with the Pediatric Emergency Division, assisted with the training for the Charleston County EMS, lifeguards and MUSC Health’s MEDUCARE Medical Transport Service recently during two mock simulation events. Beyond the benefits of improving quality of care, Borg said the trainings offer a chance to remind the public of its role in becoming more aware of water safety. His job in the emergency room keeps him aware of the importance of prevention, a message he likes to share in the summer months to keep fun in the sun safe.

Dr. Borg observes the interaction of lifeguards and MEDUCARE personnel in transitioning a mock drowning victim to be transported to the hospital. 

Here’s a video with tips (at right) and highlights from the trainings.

Q&A with Dr. Borg

Why be a part of these kinds of trainings?

The key opportunity is to train with all the people involved in the care team from the lifeguards, pool or beachside, to teams like MEDUCARE or Charleston County EMS who continue resuscitation and transport to the emergency department. It’s everyone learning to work together. We all train in our niches but the chance to train together and work on improving the transitions in care is what makes this unique. Plus we just learn from each other.

How does drilling as a team improve the system? 

It really allows you to know what to expect from the other system components.  There is also a different range of experience with different patients and environments that allow us all to share knowledge and learn from each other.

What are key messages you wish the public knew about drowning?

Prevention is the most important. Children are quick!  Monitored settings like pools and parks with lifeguards are safer because of the rules and close monitoring in those environments.  It's important to sign up for a first aid class with the American Red Cross, which offers CPR training, and to never allow anyone to swim alone.

What is your advice to parents/community leaders about improving safety in the home setting?

Be prepared!  Think and plan for an emergency in advance.  Know how you would access emergency services, what supplies you have and how you can prevent and be prepared.  There are educational resources at websites like with good information on safety and how to best handle many home emergencies.

 Lynne Henkel, administrative assistant in the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine (far left), tries to distract Charleston County lifeguards during their resuscitation attempt to see how the lifeguards would respond.

How big a problem is drowning?

It's a bigger issue than most people realize. Just look at the statistics.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates. In 2009, among children 1 to 4 years old who died from an unintentional injury, more than 30 percent died from drowning. Among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects). Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes. Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.

Visit this CDC website to see the top tips to prevent drownings, including learning CPR. In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, a bystander’s CPR skills could save someone’s life.








  Related Videos

Dr. Amy-Lee Bredlau
Drowning resuscitation training with Dr. Keith Borg

Related Stories >>

MUSC crews participate in drowning resuscitation training

Resources >>

MUSC Children's Hospital

CDC Unintentional Drownings: Get the Facts

MUSC Children's Hospital Youtube Videos

MUSC News Center archives


© Medical University of South Carolina | Disclaimer