Only on Abc-7: El Paso Nicu Nurses Help with Patient Influx in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – Harvey, the hurricane-turned-tropical storm is having a direct impact on El Pasoans.

Answering the call, El Paso NICU nurses will volunteer their time to help a San Antonio hospital hit with an influx of patients.

“They told us they needed people to volunteer to come down and we volunteered,” R.N. Diana Lechuga said.

Lechuga is one of three selfless nurses from El Paso tending to the fragile lives threatened by this natural disaster.

“The first thing is you just want to be there and help,” R.N. Azian Nicholson, added.

Stephanie Palomino, another R.N., said she’s fortunate.

“Its crazy,” Palomino said. “To be here and to help the babies that would have otherwise been in a lot of danger.”

Vicki Smetak, San Antonio Methodist Hospital’s chief medical officer, said the group is in line to receive patients imminently.

“We have a lot of emergency calls scheduled over the next 24 hours,” Smetak said.

ABC-7 reporter Evan Folan and multimedia journalist Julio-Cesar Chavez traveled to San Antonio on Tuesday. They were there as the NICU unit at San Antonio Methodist received nine babies and seven high-risk pregnancy patients evacuated from hospitals in and around Southeast Texas

“This is an unprecedented influx of patients into our neo natal ICU without fair warning, creating an urgent need for additional resources,” Smetak said. “This influx of volume was so sudden that I think if we did not have the wonderful support from El Paso, we would have struggled a little bit.”

The El Paso nurses arrived Friday, the same night the hurricane hit and just in time to help.

“As a nurse that is what you are called to do you step in to help others in any way you can,” Nicholson said. “We are hoping that we are reflecting an image that nurses from El Paso can step up to the plate and go to an even bigger city like San Antonio and we can hold our own.”

The three nurses are scheduled to fly back to El Paso on Wednesday afternoon.

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