Ashley Summers: Indiana Mom-of-Two Dies from Water Toxicity after Drinking Too Much Water after Feeling Dehydrated on Family Vacation

Symptoms of water toxicity may include a general feeling of being unwell, muscle cramps, soreness, nausea, and headaches.

An Indiana mother-of-two has died after drinking 64 ounces of water in just 20 minutes. Ashley Summers, 35, succumbed to water toxicity shortly after enjoying a relaxed day at Lake Freeman during the extended Fourth of July weekend.

On the final day of her trip, Summers experienced lightheadedness and a headache, common signs of dehydration. However, her thirst couldn't be quenched despite consuming the equivalent of four 16-ounce (500ml) bottles of water. She told her family that it felt like she couldn't drink enough water to feel satiated and then collapsed and died from water toxicity, a rare consequence of drinking too much water too quickly.

Shocking Way to Die

Ashley Summers
Ashley Summers Twitter

After Summers returned home, she collapsed in her garage, having suffered severe brain swelling and remained unconscious. Doctors at the hospital identified her condition as water toxicity, or hyponatremia, which occurs when there is an excess of water in the body and insufficient sodium levels.

Devon Miller, Summers' brother, was in a state of disbelief when he learned about his sister's condition.

"Someone said she drank four bottles of water in 20 minutes," Miller told WRTV. "She just felt like she couldn't get enough water... When they left the sand bar when they got to the dock, it was about a 20-minute boat ride I mean, an average water bottle is like 16 ounces, so that was 64 ounces that she drank in a span of 20 minutes. That's half a gallon. That's what you're supposed to drink in a whole day."

Ashley Summers
Ashley Summers with her husband and kids Twitter

The Summers family enjoyed a weekend holiday boat excursion at Lake Freeman, a well-known summer destination located around 80 miles north of Indianapolis. According to her brother, Summers had a passion for being on the water.

Their vacation spanned from Saturday, July 1, to Tuesday, July 4. However, on Tuesday morning, Summers' family said that she was feeling dehydrated and struggled to satisfy her thirst despite consuming ample amounts of water.

On Tuesday evening, Miller received a distressing call from his other sister concerning Ashley. She had collapsed in her garage and was immediately rushed to Indiana University Health Arnett Hospital.

Ashley Summers
Ashley Summers with her family Twitter

"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,'" said Miller.

"It was a big shock to us all. I was just like, this is a thing?"

Rare but Fatal

Summers remained unconscious and unfortunately never regained consciousness. Doctors at the hospital diagnosed her condition as water poisoning, also known as hyponatremia.

Ashley Summers
Ashley Summers with her daughter Facebook

Water toxicity, also referred to as water poisoning or water intoxication, occurs when a person consumes an excessive amount of water in a short timeframe or when the kidneys retain too much water due to underlying health issues.

Symptoms of water toxicity may include a general feeling of being unwell, muscle cramps, soreness, nausea, and headaches.

Dr. Blake Froberg, a toxicologist at the hospital, explained to The New York Post that this rare cause of death is more likely to happen during the summer or in people who work outdoors or engage in frequent exercise.

"There are certain things that can make someone more at risk for it, but the overall thing that happens is that you have too much water and not enough sodium in your body," Froberg said.

The ultimate objective is to achieve a balance between water and essential electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride, as this balance is vital for ensuring proper cellular functioning.

Ashley Summers
Ashley Summers with her family Twitter

Sodium plays a particularly critical role in maintaining communication between cells through electrical impulses.

Additionally, sodium helps in the absorption of nutrients in the digestive system and assists the kidneys in regulating the amount of water and electrolytes that get reabsorbed into the bloodstream or excreted through urine. This balance is crucial for overall health and proper bodily function.

Despite the tragic circumstances, Summers' generosity as an organ donor made a significant impact. Her family revealed that she donated her heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, and some of her long bone tissue, ultimately saving the lives of five other people.