The mother of a seventh-grader who nearly drowned at an end-of-year party with his school classmates says she obtained a court order to keep him on life-support in hope that he'll improve.
The boy, Alex Pierce, was with nearly 100 fellow middle-school band and choir members when he was pulled seemingly lifeless from the bottom of the pool at Vista Murrieta High School on Friday, June 3.
He remains in a coma, on a ventilator at Loma Linda University Medical Center, where his family is hoping to prevent him from being declared brain dead.
Parent chaperones, faculty volunteers from Alex’s Dorothy McElhinney Middle School, and high-school student lifeguards were present when he nearly drowned, according to police.
But no one initially noticed him going under.
Alex was underwater for 95 seconds, according to a statement issued Saturday by the school district.
Two classmates said they pulled Alex up to the surface.
Classmate Brian Bonus said the boy was “lifeless” and that no one did CPR until paramedics arrived.
After a 911 call, paramedics responded within four minutes, a Murrieta Police Department news release stated. Alex was eventually airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center.
Police said there was no evidence of horseplay on anything “inappropriate,” and an investigation determined there was no criminal culpability.
“According to the surveillance footage, it appears the student may have unintentionally floated to a deeper end of the pool where he could no longer stand up,” the police news release said.
On Thursday, Alex’s mother, Sabrina Pierce, told KTLA that she obtained a court order that will temporarily prevent the hospital from conducting a test to determine if her son is brain dead.
Under California law, hospitals must only continue to keep brain-dead patients on life-support until a "reasonably brief" period of time allows family members to gather at the patient’s bedside, though hospitals must seek to accommodate families’ “religious and cultural practices and concerns.”
A spokesman for the hospital said Loma Linda University Medical Center invited prayers for the boy and family, and “standard protocols in cases like this" were being followed.
“It’s a very serious situation,” hospital spokesman Garrett Caldwell said. “But we just want the family to feel the support not only of the hospital staff … but also the people in the community as well.”
Sabrina Pierce, who spoke off-camera to KTLA, wants to obtain a second opinion on her son's prognosis and to move him to another hospital.
She hopes her son’s brain swelling will go down and that the 13-year-old will show signs of improvement.
A GoFundMe page for Alex’s family has brought in more than $23,000. On Tuesday, the page asked for prayers for Alex.