EVERGREEN COMMUNITY – Four-year-old Jabari Shumpert doesn’t remember falling in the swimming pool on a hot Sunday afternoon or his mouth filling with water as his head dipped below the surface. He doesn’t remember being pulled from the water unconscious and half-dead, life slipping away with each fading heartbeat.
His sister Denisa, however, certainly does.
“I didn’t think something like this could happen,” said Shumpert, 19, of the Evergreen community. She said she and her family were hosting a house party on the afternoon of June 6 when her little brother almost drowned.
“He’s been swimming many times and nothing happened,” she said. “You just don’t think something like this would happen right there in front of your eyes.”
According to Shumpert, Jabari was playing on a float inside the pool when he fell in. Nobody saw how it happened: One minute he was there, the next he was gone.
“I had gotten up to get an umbrella and didn’t even turn my back all the way,” Shumpert said. “I wasn’t turned but a split of a minute, turned back around and saw his float but not him. Then I saw his shorts underwater.”
She said when her brother’s body was pulled from the water, it was still.
“When we pulled him out of the water, he was completely out,” she said, adding that fear washed over her in a wave. “I started panicking but tried not to completely panic. I didn’t know what to do. I told one of my cousins to call 911. I didn’t really know how to do CPR, but at that time I couldn’t just sit there. So, I just did what instinct told me to do.”
Knowing that her youngest brother might be on the brink of death, Shumpert began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation – pumping his chest and pushing air from her mouth into his.
“I didn’t know if I was doing it right or wrong,” she said. “I’ve sat in a class that showed me how to do it but have never actually done it before.”
Shumpert said she performed CPR on her little brother for two or three minutes that seemed to stretch on for hours.
“I was crying at the same time and praying … I just did whatever I could do.”
Despite not knowing exactly what she was doing – a practice which, in fact, can be very dangerous – Shumpert was told by paramedics her efforts had gotten her little brother’s heart beating again.
“She saved that little boy’s life,” said Melissa Cox, an EMT who responded to the Shumperts’ emergency call. Jabari was rushed to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis for examination and was released that day, fully recovered.
Although the family’s recovered, the event has weighed heavily on the minds of both Denisa and her mother, Jennifer Shumpert. The latter said she can’t be more thankful for how the potentially disastrous event played out.
“I’m just so thankful that [Denisa] was there,” the mother Shumpert said. “It was a very scary situation.”
The only one seemingly unphased by the event is Jabari himself, who was running around the house in a rambunctious revere. His sister shook her head as she watched him running a toy truck across the living room floor.
“He wanted to go swimming the next day,” she said, and laughed.
For those interested in learning CPR, the American Red Cross hosts several courses each month. For more information, call (662) 842-6101.
Contact Adam Armour can be reached at (662) 862-3141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times