Hospital Staff Stays Behind to Care for NICU Patients

Nothing beats the excitement of seeing a newborn baby. From the moment they arrive these small bundles of joy consume our worlds.

When news of the category-4 storm Hurricane Laura necessitated mandatory evacuations, the newest residence of Lake Charles, Louisiana in the neonatal intensive care unit were not able to safely evacuate. The nurses in the NICU were adamant they would not abandon the 19 babies, insisting to hospital officials at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital if the babies could not be evacuated safely, then they would remain behind.

At the height of the storm wind gusts rose to in excess of 135 miles per hour.  Under the leadership of neonatologist Dr. Juan Bossano, 14 nurses, 2 neonatal nurse practitioners, and 3 respiratory therapists remained behind in the NICU, to care for the infants as the storm battered the coast.

Concerned for the safety of the infants, earlier in the day the babies had been transferred from one of the satellites hospitals to the 10-floor main building. Some of the infants were on respirators and ranged from premature newborns to 23 weeks.

Lake Charles Memorial Health system’s director of communications for Matt Felder told CNN, “We transferred 19 NICU babies from that facility to our main campus…in record time—19 babies across the city in under two hours.”

When the storm finally did arrive both the staff and the babies were hunkered down in the hallways, far enough away from the windows to mitigate the effects of wind damage and ensure rain that might enter the building would not compromise the infants’ safety.

“It’s important to know the dedication of all the nurses and the respiratory therapists to keep taking care of the babies when they don’t even know the condition of their homes,” Dr. Bossano told CNN. “In a small town like this, people have to pull together. I’m proud of them.”

Despite the A/C unit being knocked out and the hospital losing water service, Dr. Bossano and his team were able to keep the infant’s parents and relatives abreast via Facebook.

With the storm over, and all of the little patients faring well, the babies were set to be transferred to another area NICU where vital services hadn’t been interrupted by the hurricane. “This morning because the babies were stable, I got a couple of hours of sleep—we are still in the hospital,” Bossano said.

The old lullaby warns, ‘When the wind blows, the cradles will rock,’ but for the heroic staffers at this hospital, letting them fall simply wasn’t an option.

Source: Good News Network