Harvey Heroes: Firefighters take NICU nurses to hospital in dump truck

A group of NICU nurses at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital travelled through Harvey floodwaters to get back to work to tend to dozens of tiny babies in need.

HOUSTON - KHOU 11 News is spotlighting even more heroes from Hurricane Harvey. This time - a group of NICU nurses at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

The nurses were scheduled to work on the day Harvey hit Houston and nothing was going to keep them from making their shifts.

One of their tiny patients is Mia Pearl. She’s small, but she’s strong.

“Her weight was one pound, nine ounces (when she was born)," said Mia's father Tony Perez.

Mia was born 14 weeks early.

"You're the world’s most amazing baby Mia. Just think, when you were super, super, super tiny and now you’re a big girl," said Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital Registered Nurse Lee Ann Badum to the infant.



"It's been an unreal experience to see her just take shape. And watch these wonderful people care for her. There's really no words to describe it, it’s amazing," Perez said.

Mia was born on July 25 - one month before Harvey came to town. Her nurse Lee Ann was scheduled to be in the hospital the day he hit.

“Since I live close, two other nurses spent the night at my house," Badum said.

But close wasn’t close enough. Surrounded by water, Lee Ann and another nurse Marlene walked to the end of the street to the fire station.

“We were talking to the firemen, and they were like 'oh gee aren’t you glad you’re off?' And we were like 'no we’re not. We're trying to figure out how get to work,'" said Marlene Keilman, Registered Nurse at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

If worse came to worst, they were walking through the floodwaters to the hospital.

“Honestly, I felt like we could’ve done it, but as we were trying to even get to the fire station, I began to realize how difficult that was going to be," Keilman said.

Firefighters told the nurses to go home. Then, it wasn’t a fire truck or an ambulance that saved the day, help came in the form of a dump truck.

But to the nurses, the two in the front and one it the back, it was a first class ride.

“We got all the way into the medical center. It was pretty gruesome, seeing lots of people on the side and stranded cars and everything, but they dropped us right at the front door," Badum said.

“Literally it was a rush of emotions, I think we all just cried when we saw these faces, because never in my wildest dreams did I think somebody would be able to get there," said Lindsay Axford, Charge Nurse at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Lee Ann, along with many others, spent the next 100 hours with their more than 120 tiny babies.

Today, Mia is more than five pounds. Soon she’ll be home, but her father says he can’t wait to tell her of the Harvey heroes who kept her alive.

“There were several nurses that were losing everything, and you know, they never skipped a beat. They cared for her and all the rest of the babies in the unit like they were their own," Perez said.

Those three nurses have kept in touch with the firefighters who got them to work. They plan to bring them all dinner Monday night to say thank you. 

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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