Not to Blame

By: Erin Tate
By: Erin Tate

The American Indian Cafe in Harrisonburg has become a shrine to the owners' eight-year-old son. Suman Shrestha drowned Jan. 25 while attending a birthday party at the RMH Wellness Center. His parents are still mourning their loss, and have heard little from the hospital.

RMH has just completed its internal review of the case. In the report, RMH does not assume any blame.

The report explains the lifeguard last observed Suman in the pool at 3 p.m. in no apparent distress. Shortly after 3 p.m., he scanned the area, which also includes a therapy pool and Jacuzzi, and was alerted by a staff member someone was in trouble. At the same time, an adult swimmer brought Suman to the surface.

The lifeguard told someone to call 911 and tried to revive the child. The 911 call was made at 3:04 p.m. The rescue squad arrived at 3:07 p.m. and took over resuscitation efforts a minute later. Suman was then taken to the Emergency Room, efforts to revive him continued until 3:58 p.m., when he was pronounced dead.

RMH officials saidy staff carried out their duties responsibly and according to the Center's pool procedures. And they said staff acted quickly and appropriately to respond to the tragedy.

But the Shrestha family says someone is to blame.

The RMH report also says it, " ... continues to review all aspects of safety at the pool." But it's not clear whether that means it plans to change any policies or procedures to prevent something like this from happening again.


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