Nurse saves 35 NICU babies from PGH fire

MANILA, Philippines – A nurse from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) shared the story of how she and a companion were able to save 35 babies from a fire that broke out in the hospital's building.

Nurse saves 35 NICU babies from PGH fire
Nurse Kathrina Bianca Macababbad and Jomar Mallari save 35 babies from PGH fire | Photo Courtesy: Bianca Macababbad

On what she described as her "longest night shift", pediatric nurse Kathrina Bianca Macababbad recalled the fateful night when she had to make quick decisions to save the babies at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) she was in-charge of. Around midnight of May 16, a fire broke out starting at the third floor of the facility.

Bianca was doing her usual routines on that night shift when she was informed of the fire. She said, "Nagsimula po 'yung duty ko na parang ordinaryong duty lang. Ordinary routine na tuwing nightshift ay nagpapaligo ng baby.

"Pasado alas dose ng madaling araw, biglang may nagbukas ng pinto ko. 'Bianca, ready na for evacuation. Nasusunog ang ospital (Philippine General Hospital),'" she added.

At that time, Bianca couldn't believe that there was a fire but as soon as she could smell it, it dawned on her the big responsibility she had to take. She was tearful as she realized that she could only carry one baby.

"Kaya dali-dali ko tinignan yung pasyente ko. Pero na-realize ko na isa lang sa pasyente ko yung kaya huminga mag-isa. The others are connected to ventilators. Doon pa lang parang mangiyak-ngiyak ako na isa lang ang makukuha ko sa mga pasyente ko," Bianca said.

She carried the baby and evacuated it safely to the open area. Bianca feared for the rest of the babies who were all dependent on oxygen and ventilator. She and a companion Jomar Mallari decided to save the babies individually and manually ventilate each one of them.

"Umakyat po uli kami ng kasama ko na si Jomar Mallari para balikan yung ibang baby. Pero this time pa-isa-isa na lang yung kaya namin ibaba. Kailangan namin silang i-manual ventilate," Bianca said.

When they were successfully able to save all 35 babies, nurse Bianca couldn't help but be emotional and thank the Lord. “Thank you, Lord, for the unwavering strength and courage! Di ko alam kung saan nanggaling iyon pero wala akong naramdamang takot sa dibdib ko," Bianca remarked.

Longest night shift duty! Enjoy na enjoy pa ako nagpapaligo ng mga baby loves (patients) ko ng biglang may nagbukas ng...

Posted by Kathrina Bianca Macababbad on Saturday, May 15, 2021

— Sally, The Summit Express

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