Anandre Thomas, 17, is on life support and may have suffered catastrophic brain injuries after a near-drowning accident at a public swimming pool, CBS Los Angeles report. Officials say the swimming pool accident occurred the afternoon of June 12, 2013 at Jesse Owens County Park in the 9800 block of South Western Avenue. Fire officials say four lifeguards were on duty at the pool at the time of the accident. Thomas was not breathing and had no pulse when lifeguards found him. They called for help and started CPR. But his family members say, Thomas was underwater for more than five minutes before lifeguards attempted a rescue.
Family members are questioning why none of the four lifeguards, who were on duty at the swimming pool, were able to spot Thomas. His uncle Tremon Thomas says the fact that someone was underwater for five minutes shows that someone was not doing his or her job at the pool. Officials have said that Thomas did not hit his head under water.
Near Drowning Injuries
Near drowning is the term used to describe when a victim survives after suffocation is caused by submersion. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15,000 to 17,000 near-drowning incidents occur in the United States every year. Roughly four out of five drowning victims are male. Near drowning often results in brain injury because extended submersion can cause oxygen to get cut off from the brain.
More than 50 percent of drowning victims are treated in emergency departments and require hospitalization or transfer for further care. Near drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities or cause the victim to go into a permanent vegetative state.
I hope officials are looking into what caused this tragic accident. Why wasn’t one of the four lifeguards charged with watching the pool, fail to do so? Were they all properly trained? In this case, if the lifeguards are determined are to have been at fault, they and their employer can be held liable. Injured victims can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities and pain and suffering.
Injured (or their families) would also be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney who has a track record of helping brain-injured and catastrophically injured victims fair compensation for their significant losses. Please remember that any injury claim against a governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident, under California Government Code Section 911.2.