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Drowning: A Seasonal Disease

Robert H. Moser, MD
JAMA. 1974;229(5):563-566. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230430055032.
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The blaze of summer is upon us with all its attendant joys and woes. Despite the charm of warmth and sun after the dreary winter, I am always reminded of a tragedy that occurred one sun-swept day in June, a few years back. I recounted this incident once before,1 but it bears repetition before a larger audience.

One brisk Sunday morning, three teaching sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis were exploring the sea cliffs on an isolated beach on the south shore of Maui. It was a high-surf day and waves charged into the pali in a spectacular show of spray and sound. The youngest, more adventurous sister, a 29-year-old teacher, scrambled down the rocky surface to a vantage point about six feet above the sea. Suddenly a giant wave swept in, engulfed her, and carried her out into the rough water of the cove.

One of


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