Lawsuit filed after man nearly drowns in swimming pool

FOX 32 NEWS - The family of a man who nearly drowned in a north suburban swimming pool is suing the YMCA, saying that its lifeguards were negligent and should have saved him.

Family members say 61-year-old Yosef Bornstein loves swimming. They say the retired doctor does twenty laps a day, almost every day of the week, at the Leaning Tower YMCA in Niles. But on May 28 while in the YMCA pool, Bornstein suffered severe chest pains and went under. In a lawsuit, his family claims he remained under water for more than five minutes because two YMCA lifeguards weren't watching the water.

“It’s their job to scan the pool and be alert, and the video makes clear that from time to time the lifeguard was distracted, talking with the other lifeguard, was not paying attention, was not doing her job,” said attorney Tim Cavanagh.

The attorney says security cameras show Bornstein going under water and staying there for five minutes and ten seconds, until another swimmer discovers him. There were about a dozen other swimmers in the pool.

Bornstein's family claims the video shows lifeguards had a clear view of the spot where Bornstein went under, but weren't paying attention. The family's says Bornstein's heart problems led to triple bypass surgery, and that his near drowning caused serious brain injuries.

“This is very difficult for my family and I. It's really a miracle that my father is alive. And he's able to talk to some extent,” the victim’s son said.

“He can speak but has all the indicia of having brain injury, has memory loss, fits of anger, its miraculous that he even woke up and can speak,” Cavanagh said.

In response to the lawsuit, the YMCA told FOX 32 it has conducted its own investigation and that the two lifeguards have been put on administrative leave and could face more disciplinary action.

The YMCA also said that its hearts and prayers are with the Bornstein family.

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