What is the golden rule of children and pools? Watch them diligently! Sadly that was not the case in a Fort Worth, Texas pool tragedy earlier this week. Xander Vento, a 4-year-old, was playing when he went to the aid of a 3-year-old girl in the deep end of the pool. This boy hero held the girl's head above water until she could reach safety. The rescue proved too exhausting for the boy who sank to the bottom of the pool. An off-duty emergency room nurse was the first to give aid to the boy. A pulse was found but Xander was not breathing. Responders rushed him to Cook Children's Medical Center. Shortly after placement on life support the boy lapsed into a coma. The little girl, whose name has not been released, swallowed a lot of water. She did not lose consciousness and is in fair condition.
Xander's mother was present in the pool area along with other adults. It is unclear at this time where they were exactly while this incident occurred. Although public sympathy is abundant for the loss of this young boy's life, many are questioning why children so young were not better supervised. How is it no one recognized the child was drowning? "Drowning is quick and silent," says Parents advisor Martin Eichelberger, MD, president and CEO of Safe Kids and director of emergency trauma and burn services at Children's National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. "Young kids rarely make a big splash, thrash around, or scream for help like you see on TV. They usually fall in head first and sink to the bottom like a rock." Unconsciousness occurs within two minutes and irreversible brain damage within four to six minutes of going under water.
After deciding to remove life support Cris and Misty Vento released the following statement Thursday:
"We've made the extremely difficult decision to remove our precious son Xander from life support. We send heartfelt thanks to all of you who kept our family in your thoughts and prayers; we're appreciative of your love and support.
We in some way hope our son's life serves as an inspiration. He was the angel in the pool who sacrificed himself to save another. And now he continues to give as an organ donor. We were blessed to have such a kind and caring boy as Xander who set an example for all of us and even now he will be saving lives by giving of himself."
This 4-year-old demonstrated such presence to recognize another child in danger and come to her aid. His story does not end here. His family has donated his organs allowing Xander to be an angel for many others.