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Pediatric patients evacuated from Fort Myers hospital now being treated in St. Petersburg

David De Pino was born 14 weeks premature and weighed 1 lb. 1 oz. Hurricane Ian forced an emergency transport.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pediatric patients at a Fort Myers children's hospital were abruptly evacuated in the days following Hurricane Ian.

After the building started to flood, about two dozen children were transported from Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Some patients were airlifted while others drove by ambulance to get the treatment and care they critically need.

"It’s just a feeling of pride to be able to help," said Dr. Joana Machry, a neonatologist at Johns Hopkins All Children's. "You get emotional about it because you have the resources, you have this country and it's great to see that and be part of it is just something that make you feel good and emotional."

Dr. Machry is caring for David De Pino, a baby born 14 weeks premature back in June weighing just 1 lb. 1 oz.

She said he's her sickest baby after the transport from Ft. Myers took a toll on his tiny body. 

"It’s a lot of movement, they have lots of tubes and lines, flying and coming here. Changes his environment completely, that stresses them out," Machry said.

Baby David arrived late Thursday night. His parents and older brother moved in to the Ronald McDonald House connected to the hospital and they'll do whatever it takes to get their baby boy strong and healthy.

"Miracle, yea, every single day because he's so tiny," David's mom, Angie Camacho, said.

While 10 Tampa Bay visited David and his family at the hospital, one of his machines started beeping indicating his oxygen levels were dipping too low but David's parents know just what to do.

They crowd around his hospital bassinet, sing a song and touch his head and hands.

The beeping stops. Baby David is soothed and stable.

"He’s never been off the ventilator, he’s never been able to breathe without the machine," Machry said.

Fear has become a common theme in David's little life. Fear when Angie was told it was time for a C-section at 26 weeks. Fear when she first looked at her one pound baby. And fear when Hurricane Ian ripped through their hometown and baby David was sent to safer ground.

"He was the first baby they transferred because of his condition," Camacho said.

It's no wonder they named him David. There's no Goliath he can't face.

"He's a warrior," Camacho said.

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