Hurricane Harvey: The Race To Evacuate Critically Ill Newborns To Safe ICU In Fort Worth, TX

Posted By on August 26, 2017

Courtesy of Cook Children’s Hospital
As Hurricane Harvey barrels toward the Texas coast, 10 infants in intensive care have already been evacuated by plane from the path of the storm. It took a whopping 18 hours to bring the sick babies to safety!

Working tirelessly for about 18 hours straight, flight crews in Texas on Aug. 24 and Aug. 25, successfully evacuated 10 “medically-fragile” newborns out of the path of Hurricane Harvey. The babies were all born in the last few weeks, and were removed from Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, which is directly in the path of what is expected to be the worst hurricane to hit the U.S. in over a decade. After leaving Corpus Christi, the infants were transported to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. Officials decided to relocate the critically ill babies because Harvey is threatening massive storm surges and more than 35 inches of rain! The storm is expected to majorly devastate coastal areas of Texas. Click here to see pics of 2016’s Hurricane Matthew.

It took four different specially-designed planes, called the Teddy Bear Transport, to move the newborns, and they will remain under the care of doctors and nurses at Cook Children’s until officials deem it safe for them to return home to Corpus Christi, according to the Cook Children’s spokeswoman, Winifred King. “Our NICU department has 106 units so we had available room,” Winifred explained. “We had to call in more staff but they were happy to do it.” Register Nurse Sheralyn Hartline, who’s director of the NICU at Cook Children’s, commented on the transfer as well. “Because of the extraordinary nature of the hurricane and the transport teams working together, these babies arrived in a dramatic way to our NICU,” she said in a statement.

“Our physicians, nurses and everyone who works in the NICU are all prepared and trained for occasions exactly like this one. Every day, they are treating the sickest children with the most difficult and complex diagnoses.” Unfortunately the babies’ parents were not able to travel with them on the approximately one-hour flight due to all the equipment that needed to be on the plane — including IVs, breathing tubes, and ventilators. But the parents, most of whom are driving to Forth Worth, are expected to arrive in the city today. Once there, they’ll be able to stay in the children’s hospital rooms or at a Ronald McDonald House on the hospital’s campus.

“This was a real collaborative situation and we’re just glad that those kids are here and we’re able to take care of them,” Winifred said. “The primary goal is to have those children where they need to be and safe.” Forecasters have labeled Harvey a “life-threatening storm” that poses a “grave risk.” All seven counties on the Texas coast have ordered mandatory evacuations of tens of thousands of residents.

Tell us, HollywoodLifers — are you amazed all the babies were safely moved out of Harvey’s path quickly and timely?

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