Hurricane Ian’s havoc forces hospital to transfer newborn babies in need of intensive care

The Children's Hospital in Fort Myers transferred 22 babies to the Memorial Healthcare System's Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Broward County. Baptist Health South Florida is also helping.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Newborn babies in need of intensive medical care were among the Hurricane Ian victims who have been transferred to South Florida hospitals after the Category 4 storm.

Dr. Ronald Ford, of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Broward County, said a neonatal intensive care unit in Fort Myers started to have issues on Thursday.

The Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida reported having issues with the building’s infrastructure and a lack of potable water.

“There were around 67 babies that were going to be moved out. We were able to offer a place for up to 22 of those babies and if we need to do more we will make room for them too,” Ford said on Friday.

The Florida Hospital Association reported Lee County hospitals are facing significant disruptions with its public water system. The hurricane prompted 10 hospitals to evacuate patients.

“We are just so proud that we can be part of the recovery. I can’t imagine what the families of those babies are going through right now — not only to have a sick or premature infant in the hospital — but then also having to deal with the loss of property, it is just hard to fathom,” Ford said.

Dr. Jorge Perez, of the Baptist Health South Miami Hospital in Miami-Dade County, also responded to help the little NICU patients. He said this reminded him of Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

“We know exactly what they are going through,” said Perez, the hospital’s NICU medical director.

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Reporting from Gulf Coast

Local 10 News Reporter Jeff Weinsier goes over new video of Hurricane Ian damage.
Groups of good Samaritans have been helping Fire Rescue personnel with rescues related to Hurricane Ian.
Local 10 News Reporter Jeff Weinsier shows videos of rescues and the difficult conditions first responders face after Hurricane Ian.
Local 10 News Reporter Andrew Perez reports from Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs where rescue efforts after Hurricane Ian continued Friday.

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."