Fatal entrapment in a pool drainage system: a case report

  • Martina Focardi
  • Amalia AngelinoEmail author
  • Beatrice Defraia
  • Edoardo Franchi
  • Vilma Pinchi
Images in Forensics


Swimming pool suction injuries are rarely encountered in forensic medicine. Infants under 8 years of age are most frequently involved in such accidents with high risk of serious injuries and fatal consequences due to drowning. We report, for the first time, a case of a 13-year-old boy trapped at the abdomen by an uncovered suction drainage hole. External examination of the body revealed a round ecchymosis which had the same diameter as the pool drain. Post-mortem examination established that death had occurred due to drowning, possibly in combination with traumatic shock from the suction mechanism involving the intestinal loops. Furthermore, this case may be remarkable as it raises other medico-legal issues regarding the safety standards at swimming pools, including pool management and lifeguard attendance. Preventative measures are needed in order to make sure this sort of injury or death does not occur. Moreover, the awareness of the occurrence of these accidents should be increased.


Swimming pool Suction injury Entrapment Drowning 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals.

Informed consent

The article does not include participants that require informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences, Section of Medical Forensic SciencesUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.UO of Legal MedicineAzienda USL Toscana CentroFlorenceItaly

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