The quick efforts of a Good Samaritan are being credited with saving the life of a 4-year-old boy who was found at the bottom of a swimming pool at an apartment complex in Hermosa Beach Thursday morning.
A resident in the apartment complex who heard screaming came to the rescue of the youngster. "I truly believe the child was dying," Hermosa Beach Police Detective Mick Gaglia told Hermosa Beach Patch Friday. The child was "unresponsive to any kind of help" and had been under water for at least a minute when discovered, he said.
The Good Samaritan, reportedly a longtime swimmer who may have had CPR training in his past, thought the child had died but continued to work on him, Gaglia said.
"The child was lifeless," as the resident worked on him, said Gaglia. The first signs of any response came when the Good Samaritan sat the boy up. The child then spit up blood and opened his eyes, though, according to the Good Samaritan, the child looked right through him.
By the time HB's paramedics arrived, the child was alert and awake and being held by a relative, according to HB Fire Captain Mike Garofano. He told Patch Friday that the youngster was unconscious when first removed from the pool but had been revived when paramedics arrived.
Even with the paramedics' short response time [Garofano says the department's response time is usually less than one minute but in this instance may have been two to three], people need to know how to perform CPR, said Garofano, so that a victim can be given immediate help.
A lack of oxygen can cause "loss of critical function or death. We don't recognize the importance of CPR," he said.
The child was transported by paramedics to Harbor General Hospital because the hospital is staffed with medical professionals who are prepared to deal with the issues a near drowning can present.
At the time of his transport, the child was "alert and oriented but did appear a bit groggy at times," said Garofano.
The child was with his aunt, who lives in Hermosa Beach, and her boyfriend at the time of the incident and was supposed to stay on the steps of the pool, said Gaglia. The boy was wearing shorts, which may have been a swim suit, and did not have any sort of flotation device strapped onto him.
The aunt and her boyfriend were 15 to 20 feet away in the pool and looked for the child when they were struck by how quiet it had gotten. Then they saw him at the bottom of the pool. The boyfriend provided assistance while the Good Samaritan gave the boy CPR.
"They were both working on the boy the best they could," said Gaglia.
At this point, police are treating the incident as an accident. The boy, who lives in the South Bay, is reportedly doing well after being kept overnight for observation at the hospital.
Gaglia and Garofano stress the importance of knowing CPR, especially when living near the ocean. They say that swimming pools and bathtubs are also reasons why parents and those who watch children should know CPR.