A Texas doctor braved the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey as he canoed to a 16-year-old who needed emergency surgery.
Pediatric general surgeon Dr. Stephen Kimmel got a call early Saturday morning that Jacob Terrazas was suffering from testicular torsion and needed immediate attention.
If not treated in a timely fashion, the condition could cause permanent damage.
Dr. Kimmel didn’t waste any time jumping into his car to head toward Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster, despite the fact that his own home in Dickinson was beginning to flood.
The doctor, however, had to turn back due to rising waters. Fortunately, two volunteer firemen were able to reach him in a personal truck that had a canoe in the truck-bed.
The trio drove down I-45 until the water was too deep. They then hopped in a canoe and paddled in the dark against heavy currents until the water was calm enough for Dr. Kimmel to walk the last mile of the journey to the hospital in waist-deep water.
Drenched from head-to-toe when he finally arrived at the hospital, Dr. Kimmel quickly changed to scrubs so he and his surgical team could get to work and save Jacob’s organs from permanent damage.
Thankfully, he made it in time and Jacob’s hour-long surgery was a success, the hospital said.
“Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes. This young man’s life would have been changed for the worse forever if we hadn’t been able to perform surgery when we did. In the end, it all turned out very well,” Kimmel said.
Jacob’s mother, Yesenia Terrazas, and sister, Brianna, also struggled to get to the medical center and also got stuck, but the Webster Fire Department was able to transport them in an ambulance after they called authorities.
“We are so happy to be here,” Jacob’s mother told the hospital and EMS staff on their arrival. “Jacob was in such pain and was shaking and hardly able to talk when we got here, but everyone here is so helpful. This has been a long night, but this place is wonderful.”
Jacob has already been released from the hospital.