Medical West family medicine doctor passionate about preventing childhood drowning

CBS 42 Living Local

This CBS 42 Living Local Feature Segment is sponsored by Medical West Hospital.

BESSEMER, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local) –  Dr. Alisha Thompson-Congress is a family medicine doctor with Medical West Hospital. She is passionate about helping prevent drownings as she remembers her brother almost drowning at a team pool party when they were both in grade school. “The little boy that he was playing with thought he was just wrestling with him (…) but my brother was trying to pull on him because he was drowning,” Thompson-Congress said her father jumped in, fully clothed, and and saved his son’s life.

Drowning is usually silent and is the leading cause of death for children in the United States. “They usually take a deep breath, they suck the water in, and then they are silent, and you don’t hear anything. That’s how so many people go unnoticed. The most common drownings happen at family members homes or pool parties,” said Thompson-Congress.

It is recommended if you have a home pool, fish pond, or live near a body of natural water, to have multiple layers of protection in place.

“At our house, there are alarms on all the doors that will reach the pool. Then we have a fence inside the fence,” Thompson-Congress said.

Teaching swim lessons and water safety is a significant preventative gift you can give your child. Some places will teach babies water survival skills as young as six-months-old.

Thompson-Congress also suggests offering your children frequent breaks when they are having fun in the pool.

“Kids will play and play and play if you let them. But as the adults, we need to be the one to say ‘OK, you need a break,” said Thompson-Congress.

For more information on water safety, visit To schedule an appointment with Dr. Thompson-Congress visit

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