Lake Charles Memorial Hospital NICU Staff Bravely Cared for 19 Babies as Hurricane Laura Wreaked Its Havoc
The tiniest of patients at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital were in good hands as Hurricane Laura pummeled down in the city of some 78,000 residents this Thursday. Sadly, the hurricane forged its path as the as the strongest storm to hit Louisiana since the Last Island hurricane of 1856, killing at least six people after it made landfall in the Lake Charles area yesterday as a Category 4 hurricane.
Amidst the sadness and destruction, we're moved to see the valiant efforts of the staff at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital responsible for taking care of premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). With mandatory evacuations in effect in Lake Charles, patients from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital were evacuated as the hospital faced loss of power and water, per Lake Charles news station KPLC 7.
In fact, before the hurricane arrived, the babies, some as little as only one or two pounds and/or in very serious conditions, had already endured quite the day: the 19 babies were relocated from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women to the main hospital campus due to the imminent threat of flooding.
"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. Juan Bossano, a neonatologist at the hospital, told CNN. "In a small town like this, people have to pull together. I'm proud of them."
A brave staff of one doctor, 14 nurses, two neonatal nurse practitioners, and three respiratory therapists made sure the babies' welfare remained a priority throughout the hurricane. "It was scary for everyone," Alesha Alford, vice president and administrator for Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women, said in the same CNN article, of the scary overnight experience during the storm. "When the winds got so bad, we had to move our patients into the hallways. Staff were sleeping in the hallways with patients."
But even after the babies arrived safely at the main hospital—a valiant effort given that some of the babies were on respirators and ventilators and others in the group were very sick—it was determined the babies would have to be relocated yet again since the main hospital did not have water service as of yesterday evening.
With relocation for these babies underway or completed, hospitals like Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge and Our Lady of Lourdes Women's & Children's Hospital in Lafayette have been standing at the ready to pitch in and help their neighbors.
WATCH: Hurricane Laura Made Landfall as a Category 4 Storm Causing Major Damage: Here’s How to Help
We know the incredible dedication and hard work of all of these hospital employees is not going unnoticed by the newborns' families. Our hearts are with all involved during this difficult time.