Saving Jamal: How a 3-year-old was brought back to life

6:34 PM, Nov 9, 2011   |    comments
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The 3-year-old was choking on a small rubber ball. His mom quickly called 911. It was Oct. 22.

More than two weeks later, you'd barely even know that Jamal Tanner essentially died that day.

"It's huge. It's awesome. I'm glad he's OK," Denver firefighter Lacy Harmony said on Wednesday. "When I saw him he was unconscious and not breathing."

"I put my finger in his mouth, felt the ball, and then just popped it out," she said.

On Wednesday morning, Jamal and his mother returned to Presbyterian/St. Luke's Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children to thank the doctors, paramedics, nurses, and firefighters who helped save the little boy's life that day.

"You can't say thanks enough," Jamal's mother Monte Armstrong said. "I was so afraid because I was watching his face turn purple."

"It did take many days before we were able to know one way or another what was going to happen," explained P/SL's emergency medicine physician Dr. Katrina Iverson. "Looking at him now, he'll lead a very happy life."

It's not entirely clear just how long Jamal's heart stopped beating. Paramedics say when they arrived four minutes after the 911 call went through, the boy had no pulse.

Reba Rose was the 911 dispatcher on the other line. She says she didn't find out until just recently that the boy had survived and was in fact doing quite well.

"To see him today as a normal 3-year-old, it's just awesome," she said.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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