Lifestyle & Human Interest

Nurses Rescue Four NICU Babies from Hospital Hit by Hurricane Laura


For parents of four babies in Lake Charles, Louisiana, it’s been a rough few days. Not only were those four children being cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit, but their hospital was hit hard by Hurricane Laura, and the babies needed to be moved — and quickly.

Christus Ochsner Lake Area Hospital had to evacuate all of its patients — but these littlest ones needed a special team and specialized equipment to make the trek to another hospital.

That’s when nurses from Christus Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth in Beaumont, Texas, answered the call.

“Knowing that it’s been us in that same position many times before, there was no question about whether or not to help,” said Paul Trevino, president and CEO of Christus Southeast Texas Health System, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

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“After the storm passed, we immediately began working with leaders at our system office and Louisiana hospitals to understand their needs and enacted plans to safely move a handful of special needs patients from their hospital to ours,” he said.

The Christus Southeast Texas Health System’s Facebook page shared photos of the six nurses who set out to bring the four little ones to safety.

“We were fortunate that Hurricane Laura largely spared our facilities,” the post read. “Unfortunately, our sister hospital in Lake Charles sustained considerable damage so we are doing what we can to help.”

“Members of our NICU Transport Team (nurses, respiratory therapists and our nurse practitioner) at CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth went to CHRISTUS Ochsner Lake Area Hospital this afternoon to assist with the transfer of four babies to our facility.”

“We continue to pray for our fellow Associates and physicians in Lake Charles and commit to providing excellent care for their precious NICU patients.”

Specialized medical equipment had to be brought along as well, as St. Elizabeth’s NICU medical director pointed out that they had to be prepared for anything that might happen during the 90-minute trip. That included bringing the correct personnel, food, medications and intubation equipment.

As Kelli Huebel, RN and NICU transport coordinator at St. Elizabeth, noted, this trip was only adding more stress to already stressed-out parents.

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“A NICU stay is not usually something parents expect to face while they are anticipating the arrival of their newborn,” Huebel said. “So, a stay in the NICU combined with needing to transport their baby from one state to another is especially stressful.”

Knowing that, the nurses’ job was both straightforward and difficult:

“Our job is to love, support and care for these babies and their families,” Huebel explained.

Thankfully, the transfer went well and all four babies made it safely to St. Elizabeth’s NICU.

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