Thursday, February 14, 2013
The autopsy report on North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmer Louis Lowenthal has been released!
[EDITED: I wrote the original letter in one sitting. I have edited some of the poor grammar and typos.]
I was sent the autopsy report by Irv Muchnick and this is an edited excerpt of my email back to him - Warning the description of the cause of death is very macabre - this was a very painful passing as are all drownings or near drownings and this description is graphic:
"... Good God!
Here is my interpretation: The most important aspect of this autopsy report is that there was no heart defect nor circulation problems. This boy was fit and the specialist doing the autopsy was impressed with his state of health. Louis stood at nearly 6-feet-tall, was 14-year-old, and weighed 157-pounds. As you predicted he was healthy.
When Louis went into oxygen debt his brain began to bleed in the most most critical part of the organ, the ventricle area where the brain creates and circulates Cerebral Spinal Fluid. (CSF). The purpose of CSF is to cradle our brain, help circulate blood, and provide immunological protection. This fluid circulates up and down the spine and flushes itself out about four-times-a-day. The portion of the brain that creates this fluid is called the Choroid Plexus region. (Choroid is Greek for the "membrane that encloses the fetus" - Plexus means network) This area of the brain creates massive amounts CSF so it is always fresh, clean, and pure .
As I suspected from the summary you mentioned on the phone on Tuesday, brain bleeding within the core of the brain led to immediate Hydrocephalus (brain swelling - water on the brain). The pathway the CSF circulates through from brain to spine is called the "Sylvius Aquaduct" and the report says it was "obliterated." That is a strong sentence! His third ventricle was elongated meaning that severe blood clots were jamming the pathway for Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) to circulate. This caused the Hydrocephalus to expand the ventricle and cause the subsequent obliteration of the Sylvius Aquaduct . When a blockage occurs it like a fire hydrant going off in a weather balloon but the fluid can only stretch the balloon so far before destruction or "obliteration." Thus when the blockage occurs the ventricles dilated and his brain got squished.
His tonsils were bleeding perhaps due to being on the ventilator or having the ventilator tube shoved down his throat to keep him alive. Autolysis was occurring meaning the brain cells were pretty much digesting themselves or committing suicide en masse. As a result his frontal cortex, that portion where our "selves or souls" may reside pretty much died screaming!
Drowning is not a "peaceful" way to pass. I hope he was so utterly unconscious that he had no physical feeling whatsoever as to what was going on for this was a cruel death. Herniated tonsils, ventricle bleeding, sinus thrombosis meaning swelling and blood. OH MY GOD!
I am told that Meadowbrook only had one lifeguard on duty that day despite a slew of kids swimming. Louis was one of those healthy kids who needed supervision and the Meadowbrook pool and the coaches at North Baltimore Aquatic Club failed him.
If NBAC shows up to the pool and there are not enough lifeguards there for the amount of swimmers they bring then it is incumbent on NBAC to demand lifeguards be present, provide them, or cancel the workout.
For more details follow Irv Muchnick's coverage of the autopsy report: [Link]