canada africa partner reservation Aspiring doctor Christopher Gilbert, who was pushed into Louisiana lake, defends friend – ‘I don’t think anyone intentionally did anything wrong’

Aspiring doctor Christopher Gilbert, who was pushed into Louisiana lake, defends friend – ‘I don’t think anyone intentionally did anything wrong’


In a new interview with the NY Post, aspiring doctor Christopher Gilbert, who nearly drowned after being pushed into a Louisiana lake, says he harbors no ill will toward the friend who pushed him.

He claims he wants to set the record straight about the scary episode, he told The Post in an exclusive interview.

“I don’t think anyone intentionally did anything wrong,” Christopher Gilbert said of the April 14 incident that left him on a ventilator for three weeks.

Gilbert and about 10 friends were hanging out and drinking at Rhett’s Tails and Shells, a restaurant in Farmerville, La., about 90 minutes east of Shreveport, when his friend and co-worker, Cassidy Holland, and Gilbert started joking, said he.

“I took my keys, wallet and phone out of my pockets and took off my shoes. I knew Cassidy was trying to get me to do it because I messed with her, so I played into it a little bit,” Gilbert, 26, said.

“I thought maybe the water wouldn’t be that deep, and I would hit the ground, come back down, shoot up and come back up, grab the pier and just stand there,” he said during a Zoom interview from his home in Ruston, La.

“And then the water was deeper than we thought and much colder than we thought,” said Gilbert, who admitted he was “not the strongest swimmer” and added: “I misjudged the situation.”

According to a police report, Gilbert was underwater for “no more than five minutes,” with one witness estimating the time at “more than three or four minutes.”

Friends tried to save him but panicked when they couldn’t.

Eventually, restaurant customer Dawson Foust noticed the commotion, dove in and rescued Gilbert, the police report said.

Several people performed CPR on the dock, with police noting that Christopher was breathing on his own and had a pulse.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital and later airlifted TO LSU Oschner Health Shreveport, where he spent nearly three weeks on life support before being released.

“The nurse on duty stated that standard procedure for drowning victims is to keep them on ventilation for a period of time to allow the body to heal more quickly,” said the police report, which also stated that Gilbert responded to ICU commands just a day after the incident staff.

The push made headlines after Gilbert’s distraught mother, Yolanda George, claimed the medical student was “brain dead” and “his organs were starting to fail” after he was pushed into the water and left there for ten minutes. A family lawyer later insinuated that the push was racially motivated.

“I kind of hate the… (claims about) me being brain dead, or trying to make it out to be some kind of race problem,” Gilbert, who is black, told The Post.

He is concerned about the claim of “brain death” because, he said, “who wants a doctor who has suffered brain damage?”

Holland, 22, insisted that she and others tried to save Gilbert, telling The Post:

“I would never try to hurt him. Chris is a wonderful person, my colleague and a dear friend. . . . I am so happy with his recovery and his return to normal.”

Gilbert also dismissed claims by attorney Claudia Payne, who was hired by his family, that they wanted to arrest Holland.

“That is completely incorrect,” he said.

Within two days of returning home, he reunited with his friends, including Holland.

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

His new attorney, Aaron Lawrence, told The Post that they do not plan to file any charges against Holland or the restaurant, and said some of George and Payne’s statements were “reckless.”

Payne did not return messages seeking comment.

“This is a prime example of how common sense information sharing has made an already bad situation much worse,” Lawrence said.

Gilbert, who graduated pre-med from Louisiana Tech last year, started a GoFundMe this week to help cover his medical costs. As of Friday, he had raised nearly $20,000 of his $50,000 goal.

But the bill for the ride to the hospital alone was nearly $65,000, according to Lawrence, who estimated that Gilbert’s total medical costs could reach $300,000.

Gilbert plans to return to work as a bartender next week and continue studying for the MCAT exam next year.

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