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Water Safety Champion of The Month: Dr. Linda Quan

water safety champion of the month dr linda quan

Every year, thousands face the danger of drowning, making water safety a matter of paramount importance. The battle against drowning is one fueled by clinical observation, meticulous research, and deep passion. 

Few voices echo with as much authority and passion as Dr. Linda Quan’s. As an advocate for over four decades, her dedication and scientific rigor shine through every initiative she undertakes. 

We are proud to announce our October 2023 Water Safety Champion of The Month, Dr. Linda Quan.

The Origins of a Lifesaving Mission

Dr. Quan’s dedication to water safety was sparked during her pediatric residency and subsequent fellowship, where she encountered numerous out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, predominantly from drownings. Her collaboration with Medic One, groundbreaking in its time, exposed her to the harrowing realities of water-related incidents, especially a case involving a three-year-old. This propelled her to delve deeper into resuscitation and drowning prevention, ultimately establishing an exhaustive database detailing drowning events of children under 21. 

The effects of her efforts reverberated through governmental corridors, resulting in the enactment of laws targeting unmaintained pools.

Research and Study on Drowning

Dr. Quan’s endeavors highlighted an essential truth: there’s an alarming lack of scientific focus in the realm of drowning prevention. “It’s been kind of a free-for-all,” she remarks. Throughout her career, she has strived to elevate the discourse on drowning from anecdotal evidence to a science-driven one.

Her extensive research, including work on the U.S. National Water Safety Action Plan, underscores the critical role of documentation in identifying at-risk groups. For instance, toddlers are frequently recognized as a high-risk category, but we cannot overlook other demographics. Her research underscored the need for a comprehensive focus on drowning prevention, not just limited to children. While the pediatric world concentrates on the high-risk toddler group, Dr. Quan’s research suggests that the age bracket of teenagers to 24 years is also alarmingly susceptible.

A Holistic Approach to Prevention

One of the cornerstones of Dr. Quan’s efforts has been fostering community awareness. She has continually sought to rally various factions within the water safety community to unify their approaches. She brought together diverse stakeholders, including swim coaches, coroners, lifeguards, and marine patrol, ensuring a holistic approach to water safety. 

Her collaborations with entities like Seattle Children’s Hospital, the University of Washington School of Medicine, and various governmental bodies have been instrumental in drafting policies that bolster water safety. A prime example is the law mandating the fencing or covering of unmaintained pools. But there’s more to be done. Her county experienced no pediatric drownings over a span of three years, but, as she stresses, “This isn’t politics. This is what good government does.” 

Dr. Quan advocates for a more extensive community approach to water safety that addresses the entire age spectrum. She emphasizes the role of parents in not only safeguarding toddlers but also in educating older children about the distinct risks associated with open water.

She envisions a harmonized community approach, where all stakeholders rally behind a unified, evidence-based water safety initiative.

Moving Towards a Safer Future

As technology and medicine progress, Dr. Quan envisions a future where the tenets of resuscitation are further refined. There’s no denying the advancements in drowning resuscitation, but as Dr. Quan astutely points out, “people need to acquire skills and knowledge – at least the basics.” Resuscitation is an essential aspect, but the broader objective should be prevention. 

“What are the rules?” she poses, urging that foundational water safety knowledge be universally ingrained.

Thank You For Making A Difference In Water Safety!

Dr. Quan’s journey reminds us that the journey to comprehensive water safety is multifaceted, requiring not just expertise but heart. Her tireless work underscores the importance of data-driven solutions, the cornerstone of any effective preventative strategy. 

Yet, beyond the cold numbers lies an undying passion, a fervent belief that every life saved from drowning is a testament to the collective efforts of a community united in purpose.

Thank you for being a Water Safety Champion!

If you are making a difference in water safety and drowning prevention or know someone who has, we want to hear your story. 
Please take a moment to share the story on our website for a chance to be nationally recognized as a Water Safety Champion.