Ja’Vien Bailey had 2 guardian angels watching over him last weekend – a pair of strangers who were in the right place at the right time and, critically, one of them had CPR training.
The 5-year-old boy from Youngstown was enjoying a pool/sleep-over party at a hotel in Niles, Ohio, on Saturday night celebrating his cousin’s birthday. Sunday morning the children persuaded their adult chaperones to let them swim one more time before leaving.
Tashawn Fambro, 32, with his niece, Shariel Fambro, 15, were at the hotel for a party, too. Tashawn noticed several parties in progress – with a total of about 40-50 children in the pool. One child called to Shariel when he noticed Ja’Vien’s body faced down on the bottom of the pool and Shariel quickly pulled him out.
He has black and blue and unresponsive. Noticing a general sense of panic in the pool area, Tashawn said he rushed over and began CPR on Ja’Vien.
After about 4 or 5 minutes of chest compressions and rescue breaths, several bursts of water came out and Ja’Vien opened his eyes. He then had a seizure, but Tashawn knew how to handle that too, rolling him on his side and making sure his airway was protected.
“When Ja’Vien reached out his arms, I knew it was okay to pick him up and comfort him,” said Tashawn. “I took him out of the pool area so he could get fresh air and told him his mom would be coming. He said he wanted to sleep, but I said he couldn’t go to sleep and offered him money, which kept his interest and kept him from wanting to close his eyes again.”
Soon the ambulance came and after a brief stop at Mercy Health — St. Joseph Warren Hospital, Ja’Vien was life-flighted to Akron Children’s Hospital via Air Bear.
When Ja’Vien’s mother, Dre’Lynn Jacobs, who had been at the party the night before, got the call, she feared the worse.
As she rushed to the hospital, she was in a state of panic. But, she and other family members stayed by his side and became more and more relieved as Ja’Vien’s heart rate and other vital signs slowly returned to normal over the next 24 hours.
By Monday afternoon, he was happily playing with Legos in his hospital room, talking about his favorite Power Rangers and showing off the stuffed teddy bear with flight goggles he received from his Air Bear transport team.
“I know I am blessed to have him,” said Dre’Lynn, sitting on Ja’Vien’s bed and giving him a generous supply of hugs and kisses. “It was so scary. It was devastating.”
Tashawn came to the hospital to meet the family and check in on Ja’Vien.
“He is an honorary uncle – he is part of my family now,” Dre’Lynn said. “If he had not been there, it may have been too late. Thank God he was there.”
Tashawn, a Platinum-selling rapper from Warren who goes by the name Murdah 1, says he learned CPR about 10 years ago when he worked in a group home and has kept up his certification each year.
This was the first time he had ever found himself in a situation to use his training.
“Ja’Vien’s story is a perfect example on why everyone should have CPR training,” said Dr. David Chand, a pediatric hospitalist at Akron Children’s. “Having that training can truly mean the difference between life and death.”