Hurricane Laura struck forcefully this week, hitting the Louisiana coast with 150 mph winds. But despite a mandatory evacuation order because of the Category 4 hurricane, hospital staff in Lake Charles stayed behind to take care of their patients, including their smallest ones.
The NICU staff at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital kept all of its 19 babies safe through the storm, with a team of doctors, 14 nurses, two neonatal nurse practitioners, and three respiratory therapists taking shifts to care for the children through the night.
Dr. Juan Bossano told CNN that the staff stayed on despite not knowing “the condition of their homes” during the storm. “In a small town like this, people have to pull together. I’m proud of them,” he said.
The neonatologist shared that some of the babies, as small as one or two pounds, were on respirators or premature. They had previously been at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women, but were moved to the main hospital by ambulance after the threat of flooding at the hospital’s NICU.
“When the winds got so bad, we had to move our patients into the hallways. Staff were sleeping in the hallways with patients,” said Alesha Alford, vice president and administrator for Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women.
Matt Felder, director of communications for Lake Charles Memorial Health system, shared that because the main hospital did not have water service as of Thursday night, the babies will now be transferred to other hospitals in the state.
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