A state investigation into the drowning of a 4-year-old boy at a St. Charles country club in June indicates the facilities were not to blame, but the three certified lifeguards on duty may have been prevented from performing rescue efforts.
Paulino F. Delle Grazie, of Bartlett, was found at the bottom of a pool at the Royal Fox Country Club on June 14. St. Charles paramedics arrived at the scene shortly after 3 p.m., but the boy was pronounced dead an hour later at Delnor Hospital in Geneva. The death prompted both the St. Charles Police Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health to initiate investigations. The police closed their investigation with no criminal charges.
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The health department's investigation centered on the condition of the pool facility, its equipment and the presence and actions taken by any lifeguards on duty.
"IDPH conducted a full licensing inspection," said IDPH Spokeswoman Melaney Arnold in an email interview. "The pool's operator reports were examined and indicated that, at the time of the drowning, the water was clear. In general, the mechanical equipment was operating in a satisfactory condition."
However, the report did indicate the depth markers on the pool deck were in need of repainting, and 4-inch "No Diving" signs or symbols were missing from the pool area.
The report also shows there were three lifeguards on duty at the time of the drowning. Two of the lifeguards were certified less than a month before the drowning. The third lifeguard received certification three months before the drowning. According to the description of the incidents in the health department report, none of the lifeguards were allowed to fully utilize their training.
The report states two lifeguards can over to a corner of the pool that had a small water slide after a witness yelled out that there was a boy at on the bottom of the pool. But it was "a mother" who jumped in and pulled the boy out of the water and on to the pool deck.
The report states a witness said the boy hit his head as he was brought out of the water.
Once out, the boy began expelling water and one of the lifeguards tried to place him on his side. But at that point the mother of the boy rolled him onto his back and began administering CPR. A friend of the mother told the lifeguards the mother was a doctor. The mother then refused a mouth guard offered by one of the lifeguards to help with the CPR.
At that point, emergency personnel arrived and were taken to the boy by one of the other lifeguards.
The boy was then taken to the hospital where he died.