Hurricane Ian: NICU patients transferred from Fort Myers to south Florida hospitals
Memorial Healthcare System is expecting the transfer of 22 NICU patients from Lee Health in Fort Myers, Florida
A South Florida healthcare system is stepping up to assist the smallest patients at a Fort Myers hospital significantly affected by Hurricane Ian.
On Friday, Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County announced three of its Neonatal Intensive Care Units will be accepting NICU patients from Lee Health.
The system is expecting to receive 22 newborns over the next few days. The most critical patients will be transferred by helicopter and the rest will travel via ambulance, FOX 7 Miami reported.
The babies will be placed in the care of Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, Memorial Hospital West or Memorial Hospital Miramar.
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"It’s bad enough to have the stress of a sick baby in the hospital, and then with having a catastrophe of this size on top of that, it’s unthinkable," Dr. Ronald Ford, the chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, told FOX 7 Miami.
The outlet said the healthcare system received a call stating 67 NICU patients in southwest Florida needed urgent care after local hospitals were experiencing flooding and infrastructure failures because of Hurricane Ian.
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"We see the devastating conditions on the west coast of Florida and are ready to wrap our loving arms around these families," Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital CEO Caitlin Stella said. "We appreciate the support of the community which will allow us to further assist these families in their time of need."
The children's hospital is also placing the parents of the babies in hotels and providing additional support services, according to FOX 7.
Memorial Healthcare said despite being located in South Florida, it is always available to care for families in the Sunshine State and beyond.
"Our frontline teams continue to work with state agencies, extending a helping hand to southwest Florida hospitals that were affected by Hurricane Ian," the system said on Facebook. "We are ready, willing and able to care for pediatric or adult patients in need."
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Baptist Health South Miami Hospital is also accepting NICU patients from hospitals on Florida's west coast, FOX 7 reported.