Story behind evacuating NICU babies from Hurricane Harvey

Greg Elders will tell you what he did Thursday was just another day at the office. But the longtime respiratory therapist's office just so happens to be a jet carrying NICU patients to safety.

"You don't do this for monetary reasons," Elders said. "You do this because you love it."

Elders was one of 18 members of the Children's Health Dallas transport team that flew to Corpus Christi to evacuate critically sick children from Hurricane Harvey's path. Doctors decided it was too risky to keep the vulnerable infants near the storm in case power went out. In all 10 children made their way to Dallas.

"We're talking about really sick children," Elders said. "They shouldn't even be outside of their mom's womb."

Michelle Smith was also a part of the team. The longtime NICU nurse has experience with hurricanes working during Katrina. During that story she went to recover children after the hurricane hit and says it was a disaster.

"Everything was flooded," Smith said. "We had to land on rooftops."

This time crews acted ahead of the storm but parents weren't able to make the flight. The small planes could only fit patients and the crew tending to them.

"I saw one young mom saying goodbye to a baby she loves very much," Smith said. "We don't take lightly the responsibility of caring for their children."

Children's Health worked alongside Cooks Children's in Fort Worth and hospitals in Corpus to get the children to North Texas. Most of the parents are driving up today to be with their children as the storm bares down on their home. The children's are now being treated at Cooks.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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