On Monday, 5-year-old Jaheem Hunter was hailed as a “miracle child” after overcoming brain trauma, from a gunshot wound to the head, to walk for the first time in three months on Monday.
The New York Daily News reported on Jaheem’s status, noting the family is elated at his progress following the trauma which might have left him mute and mostly incapacitated. As well as beginning to learn to walk again, Jaheem has been eating normally and moving both sides of his body.
“He’s a miracle kid,” said his sister and guardian, Aja Holmes, 35. “He’s progressing so well, and all he’s complaining about is he wants to go home. I’m so proud of him.”
Back in June, Jaheem and his father were leaving his Morrisania apartment to go to his fifth birthday party. A gunman targeting a rival in the same apartment complex opened fire at that exact moment, and Jaheem’s head caught a bullet in the crossfire. The father, Charlie Hunter, quickly bundled up his son and rushed him to the hospital.
“I feel like God was driving that vehicle,” Holmes, 35, recalled of the frenetic trip to the hospital. “I went through red lights.”
Jaheem’s life was saved by doctors at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, who performed multiple surgeries to remove a bone flap in his skull to relieve swelling. He arrived at the hospital with bullet fragments still lodged in his skull. The procedure left him with staples across his head and in a medically-induced coma for recovery. In the third week of June, doctors began to ease him out of the coma.
And now, after just three months, Jaheem is uttering words again.
“Cognitively, he’s there,” she said. “It’s the fine motor skills we’re going to have to work on.”
Jaheem is also no longer in need of assistance with breathing.
“He’s doing so well that he pulled it out and he’s breathing fine,” said Holmes. “He was sounding so much clearer, and we were wondering why, and then we find he pulled the [tracheostomy] out.”
A GoFundMe page has been started to aid the family with medical expenses.
“He cries when you leave and says, ‘Don’t leave,’” Holmes said.
“It’s difficult. I want to be there during the day and during his milestones that he’s making.”
The following news broadcasts were from June, after the shooting.
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