Austin Sonetti is home with his family after being taken off life support. The 9-year-old technically drowned on April 23, 2005, but was brought back to life.
"He didn't have a pulse. He was completely lifeless," said his mother, Cierra Sonetti.
Austin fell into his grandfather's pool during a birthday party, and was underwater for nearly 40 minutes. His injuries were irreversible. Austin suffered brain damage and is bedridden. He has to be fed through a tube and is on a respirator to help him breath. At the time of the accident, doctors warned his life span would only be eight to 10 years.
Last week, he was brought home after spending 19 days in the Intensive Care Unit at Summerlin Hospital. For Austin's family, the focus is on keeping him comfortable for the time he has left.
"We can do whatever we need to keep him here. That's me and my husband, and us being selfish. It's not for Austin," said his mother.
Since the accident, Cierra Sonetti has become an advocate for awareness on the dangers of swimming pools and children. She said accidents like what happened to Austin are preventable. She'd like to see proper pool fencing for the more than 100,000 residential swimming pools in the Valley, constant adult supervision for children around pools, and more people knowing CPR to prevent a similar incident from occurring.
Now with Austin at home, his twin sister Autumn, 6-year-old sister Elle and 2-year-old brother Evan are spending quality time with him.
"Elle sits at night with him, and reads him stories. I'll be lying in bed, and I'll hear her crying like it hurts," said Cierra Sonetti.
After the accident, Cierra Sonetti decided she wanted to get into nursing, but had to leave the program to care for Austin. Someday she hopes to graduate to honor Austin.
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