One California doctor cares so much about his patients that he actually risked his life to save eight premature babies during a deadly wildfire.
During the early hours of October 9th, Dr. Scott Witt was at home with his family when he received a call from the hospital he works at notifying him that they were going to evacuate the patients because a deadly wildfire was spreading. “I got called at 2 a.m. because the flames were getting close enough to the hospital so the staff thought that we’d have to evacuate,” said Dr. Witt, the medical director for the newborn intensive care unit at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital.
Since the entire area was being evacuated, Witt sent his wife and their four children to safety at a nearby church but decided to head to the hospital since he needed to make sure his patients were safe. “The only way I could was to get on my motorcycle,” said Witt, who failed to get to the hospital in his truck since the parts of the roads were closed off or impassable in big vehicles. “I had to skirt around where the fire had spread to,” he said.
By the time he arrived, the fire was encroaching on the parking lot. “The intensive care unit already smelled with a lot of smoke and I wanted to move everybody to a parking lot without any fire in it,” Witt said. With the hospital staff’s help, Witt managed to evacuate all eight preemie babies into an ambulance that rushed them to a nearby hospital.
Even though Witt had done more than enough, he decided to follow the ambulance onto the debris-ridden freeway to make sure the babies made it to the hospital. “At one point, there was some live wire on the freeway,” Witt said. “After going on the freeway, I said to the ambulance driver, ‘I don’t know if it’s the most scary thing I’ve done but close to it.’”
After seeing the babies to safety, Witt then back to check on his home, which was burned to the ground by the time he got back. “It was totally burned down,” said Witt, who is grateful his family was unharmed. “We didn’t have any injuries, we were just happy to be together in faith.”
Now, Witt is being hailed a hero for his bravery, but he insists he just did what he felt was right. “I feel like these babies are like my own babies,” Witt said. “I just wanted to make sure I was there to help them,” he said.
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[Featured image: Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital]