News of a heartbreaking tragedy for one Texas family prevented a similar situation from unfolding in Colorado over the past week.
Frankie Delgado, a 4-year-old boy from Texas City, died June 3, a week after his family had gone swimming. His symptoms seemed to resemble a normal stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhea, until one day, he stopped breathing.
“Out of nowhere, he just woke up. He said, ‘ahhh,’ ” his father told KTRK-TV. “He took his last breath, and I didn’t know what to do no more.”
His family believes he died from “dry drowning,” which occurs when fluid leaks into a person’s lungs, often after swimming and among young children. Dry drowning and secondary drowning’s symptoms can easily go unrecognized, medical experts say.
News of Delgado’s death made national headlines, as his parents told media outlets they hoped other parents would learn from their mistakes and recognize dry drowning symptoms early on, per CNN.
Little did they know, it would take less than a week for Frankie’s story to save a life.
In Fort Collins, Colorado, Garon Vega and his 2-year-old son, Gio, went swimming Wednesday when the toddler swallowed some water, his father told KUSA. At the time, he said, he didn’t think anything of it.
But soon after, Gio began to complain that his head hurt, his father told the station.
“He would say ‘Mama head hurt, mama head hurt,’” Garon Vega said.
Vega and his wife searched online for their son’s symptoms and discovered news coverage of Delgado, whose story was just becoming widely publicized. Concerned, the parents brought Gio to the emergency room, where doctors confirmed their suspicion.
“The doctor said basically it is in fact fluid in his lungs, he has a significant amount of fluid in his lungs,” Garon Vega said.
Had the Vegas waited to seek medical treatment, doctors believe young Gio may not have survived the night, Garon told ABC 13.
“I feel like I needed to reach out to the parents of little Frankie and tell them, I don't know how to word it, but their little boy saved our little boy's life,” Vega told ABC 13. “There was a purpose. It was an unfortunate thing that happened, but if I had not told my wife that he swallowed the water, and if she had not seen that article, I think we would've ended up dispelling it as a regular sickness.”