Indiana Mother’s Tragic Death Raises Awareness About Water Toxicity

An Indiana woman, Ashley Summers, 35, tragically lost her life due to water toxicity. This rare condition occurs when an excessive amount of water is consumed in a short period of time. Summers, a mother of two, was spending the Fourth of July weekend at Lake Freeman with her family when she began to feel intensely dehydrated.

According to her brother, Devon Miller, Summers drank four 16-ounce bottles of water within a span of 20 minutes. This amount of water, equivalent to half a gallon, is typically recommended for consumption throughout an entire day. Despite her efforts to hydrate, Summers continued to feel unwell, experiencing symptoms such as lightheadedness and a persistent headache.

The situation took a turn for the worse when Summers collapsed in her garage upon returning from the trip. She was immediately rushed to IU Health Arnett Hospital, but unfortunately, she never regained consciousness. The doctors informed her family that she had succumbed to water toxicity.

Water toxicity, also known as water poisoning or water intoxication, can occur when the kidneys are unable to expel excess water from the body, or due to underlying health conditions. Symptoms often include general discomfort, muscle cramps, nausea, and headaches. Dr. Blake Froberg, a toxicologist at the hospital, explained that this rare cause of death is more likely during the summer months or among individuals who frequently work outdoors or exercise.

Froberg emphasized the importance of maintaining a balance of water and electrolytes in the body. Consuming beverages that contain electrolytes, sodium, and potassium can help prevent water toxicity.

Despite the tragic circumstances, Summers’ legacy lives on. She was an organ donor, and her donations, including her heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, and some long bone tissue, have saved five lives. Her family is now raising awareness about water toxicity to prevent similar incidents in the future.