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Mum tragically dies after drinking too much water

Claire Reid

Published 
| Last updated 

A mum-of-two died from water intoxication after drinking too much water in a short space of time as she felt she couldn’t quench her thirst.

Ashley Summers, 35, had been enjoying time with her family at Lake Freeman in Indiana across the long fourth of July weekend.

But on the last day of her trip she began to suffer symptoms of dehydration, including lightheadedness and a headache.

The daycare worker began to drink water, but found it did not alleviate the symptoms and she ended up drinking the equivalent of four 16oz (500ml) bottles in just 20 minutes.

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After returning home, Ashley collapsed in her garage due to severe swelling on her brain.

Mother-of-two Ashley Summers died in July. Credit: WLFI
Mother-of-two Ashley Summers died in July. Credit: WLFI

She was rushed into hospital where medics said she had water toxicity, also called hyponatremia, which develops when there is too much water and not enough sodium in the body.

Tragically, Ashley never regained consciousness after collapsing at her home.

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Her heartbroken husband Cody Summers said: "She will forever be our superhero and my number one love."

Her devastated brother Devon Miller said he received a call on the evening of Tuesday July 4 from his other sister who told him Ashely had been rushed into Indiana University Health Arnett Hospital.

He told WLFI: “My sister, Holly, called me, and she was just an absolute wreck. She was like, ‘Ashley is in the hospital. She has brain swelling, they don’t know what’s causing it, they don’t know what they can do to get it to go down, and it’s not looking good’.”

Ashley Summers' family are using her death to raise awareness about water intoxication. Credit: WLFITV
Ashley Summers' family are using her death to raise awareness about water intoxication. Credit: WLFITV
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Devon said he was initially in disbelief when he was told about his sister’s condition: “It was a big shock to us all. I was just like, this is a thing?'"

He added: “She just felt like she couldn't get enough water. When they left the sand bar to when they got to the dock, it was about a 20 minute boat ride ... she drank four bottles of water in that 20 minutes.”

Hyponatremia is caused when too much water floods the body in a short period of time, which overwhelms the organs - particularly the kidneys - and prevents them from regulating the balance of fluids.

Doctor Alok Harwani who works in IU Health Arnett Hospital told the outlet: "It's relatively rare. Now, what we are concerned about is just drinking too much water in a short period of time. Your kidneys can really only clear about a litre of water per hour."

Topics: US News, Health

Claire Reid
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