Sat | Dec 9, 2023

PAIN - Mom distraught doctors didn’t do more for drowning teen

Published:Friday | January 1, 2021 | 12:12 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Sixteen-year-old Kemore Smith and his mother, Shauna-Kaye Laylor.
Sixteen-year-old Kemore Smith and his mother, Shauna-Kaye Laylor.

Heartease, Manchester:

A grieving mom is charging that doctors did not do enough to save her teen son’s life when he was rushed to the Mandeville Regional Hospital on Wednesday after being pulled from a hotel pool as the family’s recreation time turned into a nightmare.

Sixteen-year-old Kemore Smith was with his mother and siblings at the Tropics View Hotel, just on the outskirts of Mandeville in Manchester, on Wednesday, when he reportedly got into difficulties while swimming in the pool and later drowned.

The teen’s mother, Shauna-Kaye Laylor, who is visiting from the United States, is still baffled by the chain of events as Kemore was a swimmer, saying that the ordeal unfolded so quickly that it was incomprehensible.

Laylor, whose mother died last year, said she had just finished days of renovations on her mother’s tomb and running errands and decided to take a break and have a getaway with the children.

Kemore would not make it back home.

“They wanted to go by the pool before I was finished getting dressed and I told them no. They had to wait on me,” she told The Gleaner yesterday as she tried to process the tragedy. “They are all swimmers. I am the only one that can’t swim. I honestly don’t know what happened. I was standing there right next to the pool. He was standing in the pool, and then all of sudden, it was as if someone just pulled him down.”

Laylor said her son was known to joke around and she thought he was playing one of his pranks.

“I saw him spinning around and I said, ‘Boy, that’s not funny. Quit playing around’. When we realised [it was serious] and took him out of the water, I did CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on him.”

The distraught mother said that as one trained in CPR, she did everything she could to pump the water from his system, but believes the hospital did not give her son a fighting chance when they arrived.


“When we brought him to the hospital, he had a pulse and I begged the doctors to look at him. I kept pumping his chest, breathing through his mouth and turning him on his side, and water kept running out. I stopped crying just to be sure I was feeling his pulse, and it was going fast by the minute,” she recalled.

“I begged the doctors to come and they said give them a minute, but they didn’t come. I overheard one of the porters telling the doctors to go over and just give us the satisfaction,” Laylor said. “He came, felt his leg and that was it. He said, ‘He is cold’.”

The mom of four said that she would have paid to have Kemore placed on a life machine as she is certain he had not died when they arrived at the hospital.

“I was here in September of this year and I promised them I would come back because it’s been a while since we have spent Christmas together. But now every time I close my eyes, I see him going down,” she said.

When contacted, senior medical officer at the Mandeville Regional Hospital, Dr Everton McIntosh, told The Gleaner that he was not made aware of the situation and so could not comment.

The fifth-form May Day High School student was said to be a brilliant aspiring engineer and pilot.

“He was very friendly, jovial, caring, reliable and responsible. He was quiet and wouldn’t allow anything to trouble him. He always acted like the dad for his siblings and even me. He didn’t even feel like my son. He was like my best friend,” Laylor told The Gleaner.

“We spoke about everything. We had a strong bond, maybe because I had him so young. His dad died 13 years ago and for a long time, it was just me and him.”

Laylor said her son loved singing and showed promise as a star student.

“He was great at maths. He was a brainbox. He would never be satisfied with a low grade and he never placed anything under sixth in his class,” she said, adding that plans were in place to take all her children with her in the US early this year, with plans for her and her son to join the US Army.