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Aspiring doctor who nearly drowned after being pushed into lake speaks out for the first time

An aspiring doctor who nearly drowned after being pushed into a Louisiana lake says he has no ailing will towards the pal who shoved him — and claims he needs to set the report straight about the scary episode, he informed The Post in an unique interview.

“I don’t think anyone did anything intentionally wrong,” Christopher Gilbert stated of the April 14 incident which left him on life assist for three weeks.

Gilbert and about 10 mates have been hanging out and ingesting at Rhett’s Tails and Shells, a restaurant in Farmerville, La., about 90 minutes east of Shreveport when his buddy and co-worker, Cassidy Holland, and Gilbert started joking round, he stated.

Christopher Gilbert and Cassidy Holland smile and pose together
Christopher Gilbert and his buddy and co-worker, Cassidy Holland, have been simply joking round when she pushed him into the water, he stated. Courtesy of Christopher Gilbert

“I took my keys, wallet, and phone out of my pockets and took my shoes off. I knew Cassidy wanted to push me in for messing with her, so I kind of played into it,” stated Gilbert, 26.

“I thought maybe the water wouldn’t be as deep, and I would kind of hit the ground, get my footing and shoot up and come back up and grab the pier and just stand there,” he stated throughout a Zoom interview from his residence in Ruston, La.

“And then the water ended up being deeper than we thought and being a lot colder than we thought,” stated Gilbert, who admitted he’s “not the strongest swimmer” and added, “I misjudged the situation.”

According to a police report, Gilbert was underneath water for “no more than five minutes,” with a witness estimating the quantity of time at “more like three or four minutes.”

Friends tried to save lots of him, however panicked once they couldn’t. Eventually restaurant buyer Dawson Foust seen the commotion and dove in and saved Gilbert, in keeping with the police report.

Christopher Gilbert holding his diploma on the day he graduated from Louisiana Tech
According to a police report, Gilbert was underneath water for “no more than five minutes.” KNOE 8

Several folks carried out CPR on the dock, police stated, noting Gilbert was respiration on his personal and had a heartbeat. He was rushed to a close-by hospital and later airlifted TO LSU Oschner Health Shreveport, the place he spent nearly three weeks on life assist earlier than being launched.

“The on-duty Nurse stated that the standard operating procedure for drowning victims is to put them on a vent for a while so the body can heal faster,” stated the police report, which additionally stated that simply someday after the incident, Gilbert was responding to instructions by ICU workers. 

The shove made headlines after Gilbert’s distraught mother, Yolanda George, claimed the pre-med scholar was “brain dead” and “his organs were starting to fail” after he was pushed into the water and stayed their for 10 minutes. A household lawyer later insinuated the shove was racially motivated.

A selfie of Cassidy Holland and Christopher Gilbert
“I would never try to hurt him. Chris is a beautiful person, my co-worker, and dear friend,” Cassidy Holland informed The Post. Courtesy of Christopher Gilbert

“I kind of hate the…[claims about] me being brain-dead, or this attempting for it to be some sort of race issue,” Gilbert, who is black, informed The Post.

He is worried about the “brain dead” declare as a result of, he stated, “Who would want a doctor who has suffered brain damage?”

Holland, 22, insisted she and others tried to save lots of Gilbert, telling The Post, “I would never try to hurt him. Chris is a beautiful person, my co-worker, and dear friend. . . . I’m so thrilled at his recovery and getting back to normal.”

Gilbert additionally dismissed claims from lawyer Claudia Payne, who was employed by his household, that they have been searching for to arrest Holland.

“That’s completely false,” he stated.

He reunited along with his mates, together with Holland, inside two days of returning residence.

“There was a lot of relief, and I felt like it was very emotional,” he stated. 

Christopher Gilbert poses with friends and his lawyer outside of Trio's Fine Dining
Gilbert reunited along with his mates and associates, together with Holland, inside two days of returning residence from the hospital. Courtesy of Christopher Gilbert

His new lawyer, Aaron Lawrence, informed The Post they don’t plan to press any fees in opposition to Holland or the restaurant, and stated a few of George and Payne’s statements have been “reckless.”

Payne didn’t return messages searching for remark.

“This has been a prime example of how sharing information without common sense has made an already bad situation so much worse,” Lawrence stated.

Gilbert, who graduated pre-med from Louisiana Tech final yr, began a GoFundMe this week to assist cowl his medical bills. As of Friday, he’d raised virtually $20,000 of his $50,000 aim.

But the invoice for the flight elevate to the hospital alone was nearly $65,000, in keeping with Lawrence, who estimated that Gilbert’s whole medical bills may run as much as $300,000.

Gilbert plans to return to his bartender job as quickly as subsequent week, and proceed learning for the MCAT examination subsequent yr.

“I want to thank everyone for their support and their prayers,” he stated.

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