(CNN)–Despite the fact that his own home was flooding because of Hurricane Harvey, a Houston area doctor was so determined to perform emergency surgery on a 16-year-old boy that he used whatever means necessary to reach the hospital — even if that meant using a canoe and walking through waist-high floodwater.
Dr. Stephen Kimmel, a general pediatric surgeon at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster, Texas, rushed out of his home on Saturday morning when he received a call about Jacob Terrazas, who faced permanent damage if the surgery wasn’t performed immediately.
During a Wednesday appearance with Jacob on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront,” Kimmel said he headed out in his car, but had to turn back because of the flooding. But that was just the beginning of his brave journey.
The hospital reached out to the local volunteer fire department to aid Kimmel. “So we ran through the flooded streets and it was pretty windy and rainy,” he said.
“We went by canoe and then by (a firefighter’s) pickup truck and by canoe again,” Kimmel told Burnett. “And I felt that these guys knew what they were doing, so I didn’t worry about myself at all the whole time.”
Kimmel ultimately reached the hospital after walking the last mile in waist-high water.
He says what is usually a 10-15 minute trip took about an hour, but that the effort was warranted. “Somebody had to take care of this young man, and so I thought, well if I can do it, I certainly should,” he said. “He was on the way to our institution and I’m glad I was able to make it.”
Some hospitals hang on as others close amid Harvey’s floods.
Jacob, who admitted he was “really scared,” and his family also had their own harrowing journey to the hospital as the paramedic’s truck he was in had to stop because of flooding.
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