As Hurricane Dorian prepares to make landfall in the southeastern U.S., causing several states to declare a state of emergency, a small team of 14 drove to the coast to pull sick newborns out of the storm’s path.
The team of drivers, respiratory nurses and respiratory therapists from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta traveled to two hospitals in Savannah, Georgia, and transported infants undergoing treatment back to Atlanta.
Rana Roberts, RN, director of Trauma and Transport at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, told “Good Morning America” the process of organizing the evacuation took a lot of coordination with medical facilities and state partners.
“It just really is rewarding to know that you’re kind of part of something bigger that is really so incredibly committed to taking care of people,” she said.
A total of 10 patients were transported in three specialty transport trucks, each equipped with two drivers, two respiratory nurses and two respiratory therapists.
Each patient needed different types of support, with one infant in particular requiring a high-frequency oscillating ventilator.
“We have specialized neonatal pediatric critical care transport ambulances that are literally like mini ICUs on wheels,’” Roberts said.
The roundtrip to Savannah a total of 12 hours, with the last team arriving back at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at 7:45 a.m. on Monday. The mass exodus of people from nearby areas to avoid Dorian’s path caused heavy traffic.
The team from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta used specialty trucks instead of helicopters because the weather wasn’t acceptable for air travel.
“Really, the people who we should celebrate and recognize the most are the caregivers who left their families on a holiday to respond to our needs for them to go on a transport and they immediately came,” Roberts said.
Roberts told "GMA" that all babies were transported safely and are doing very well.