Fifteen-year-old Alex Romero Gomez (front, centre), who went into cardiac arrest over the summer, with his family, including his mom Esmeralda Gomez (back, left), who is pushing to get AEDs in Surrey schools. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Fifteen-year-old Alex Romero Gomez (front, centre), who went into cardiac arrest over the summer, with his family, including his mom Esmeralda Gomez (back, left), who is pushing to get AEDs in Surrey schools. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

B.C. mom wants defibrillators put into schools after teen son’s cardiac arrest

Esmeralda Gomez pushing for AEDs for schools; looking to get portable machine for her son

A Surrey mom wants automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) put into schools after her son went into cardiac arrest over the summer.

Esmeralda Gomez’s son, Alex Romero Gomez, was at the gym at Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex on July 16 when he went into cardiac arrest “and things were not looking good at all.”

“All of a sudden, he just collapsed. We got the phone call saying (to) go over there because our son has collapsed. We had no idea the gravity of the situation.”

Gomez said four staff members attended Alex, who was 14 years old at the time, and administered CPR and used an AED.

“He just received one shock and that one shock with CPR was enough to… get the pulse back.”

After that, Gomez said, Alex went into a coma for 12 hours. He was first taken to Surrey Memorial Hospital, but then transferred to B.C. Children’s Hospital.

“We were told it was a stage three coma which is the worst of the worst and he had about less than 15 per cent chance of living,” she said.

When Alex woke up, Gomez said, he was put in the ICU for 24 hours before moving to the cardiology section of the hospital for 11 days.

Now two months later, Gomez said the cause of Alex’s cardiac arrest is still unknown. She said the tests came back “normal,” and he’s since had a genetic test done which will take about three to four weeks to come back.

“As of right now, we have no answer. Nobody can figure out why it happened.”

Gomez said Alex, now 15 years old, is “really frustrated” with the situation “because he was a healthy kid.” She said the family also doesn’t have any health issues, so it was “all unexpected.”

She said Alex, who plays competitive soccer with Surrey United, was given a six-week period before he could exercise and return back to sports. Last week, she said, was six weeks and his was training in the backyard when he ended up “getting really ill and feeling sick,” so the family went back to the emergency room.

“Things are just not getting better.”

With that, Gomez said Alex has to have a “buddy” with him at school, adding that he can’t even go to the washroom on his own in case he goes into cardiac arrest.

That’s why Gomez said she’s hoping the district will look at purchasing defibrillators for schools.

She said she’s spoken with the vice-principal at her son’s school Fleetwood Park Secondary and was told they could get a portable AED for just Alex that he would have to carry between classes.

“But in order for that to happen, we’d have to apply for it, get a referral from a doctor, get a prescription, get all his paperwork done for him to even qualify to get one,” she said. “It doesn’t help the other (hundreds) of kids… because it’s just for Alex.”

Surrey Schools spokesperson Doug Strachan said the district has “long purchased” AEDs “where there’s a medical need identified,” which would include a prescription from a doctor. He said the district would then make an arrangement for a support plan for the student with the student and parents.

Asked if there are plans in the future for the district to purchase defibrillators for schools, Strachan said the provincial health officer “doesn’t see a need for that” and only recommends AEDs for students with an identified need.

An emailed statement the Ministry of Education to the Now-Leader says the ministry also follows the recommendations of the provincial health officer, adding that districts should have staff who are trained to use it and regularly monitor as well as maintain it to ensure it is in working order when needed.

The statement also says the provincial health officer is also “continuing to work” with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to “review evidence on AEDs in schools, but at this point, is not recommending placement of AEDs in all schools.”

Regardless, Gomez said she will be applying for a portable AED for Alex, but she plans to attend his school’s PAC meeting coming up to see if there’s anything that can be done to get a defibrillator for the school.

She said she’s also going to look into St. John Ambulance to see if it can help cover the costs of a defibrillator.

READ ALSO: Surrey schools to teach students CPR, Feb. 7, 2019

READ ALSO: Surrey student goes into cardiac arrest during basketball game, Nov. 29, 2017



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Just Posted

Sierra Acton, regional district director for Shawnigan Lake. (file photo)
New parkland in Shawnigan creating connections

Used to created parking for the popular Masons Beach Park

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: This could be the worst thing done to you during the pandemic

As a result, all of us will contend with more ‘scarcity’ thinking and mindset.

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

Most Read