A man is repaying the people who saved his life by suing them.
Polish-born Mateusz Fijalkowski was an assistant manager at a swimming pool in Virginia in the US in 2016 when he nearly drowned during a bipolar episode.
Fijalkowski filed a lawsuit last week against the eight police officers who attended, as well as the lifeguard who pulled him from the water, news.com.au reports.
According to the Washington Post, Fijalkowski, now 23, claims he was underwater for two minutes, and that as a result he had been slugged with a $133,000 medical bill after a lengthy hospital stay.
He alleges police officers stopped the lifeguard from coming to his aid immediately — but police argue they acted appropriately and were simply trying to ensure everyone's safety.
"The police allowed me to sink before their eyes," Fijalkowski told the Washington Post. "I'm glad that in the end they realised that they shouldn't let me drown, but I don't thank them for letting me die, clinically, before their eyes."
Fairfax County Police chief Edwin Roessler said he couldn't believe Fijalkowski's actions, and that if someone had entered the water earlier, they would have been at risk of drowning themselves.
"They saved his life — he did not die," Roessler said.
"You're going to sue someone for saving your life?"
Fijalkowski was in the US as part of an international summer job programme and had not experienced mental health episodes before the May 26, 2016, which happened on his third day in the job.
Police were called when he began acting strangely, and after they arrived, Fijalkowski walked into the deep end of the pool until his head was underwater before grabbing hold of two vents and remaining submerged for more than two and a half minutes.
Lifeguard Sean Brooks pulled him out of the pool with the assistance of several officers.
They performed CPR, and Fijalkowski was later revived with a defibrillator once paramedics arrived.
Fijalkowski suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest and was in hospital until June 8, when he was transferred to a psychiatric unit for a further six days before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
The man, who has since returned to Poland, has not had a mental episode since.
His lawyer, Victor Glasberg, said police officers should have stopped his client from entering the pool in the first place.
But Roessler said the officers did the right thing by avoiding a confrontation with a man who had been acting violently and erratically.
"When someone's having a mental episode, the last thing you want to do is go hands on," Roessler said.
"You use time on your side to let the episode subside.
"Everybody there saved this young man's life."