Let me ask you this: 'What is it like to be in a fire?'
Saturday 21 June 2014
It is singularly the most terrifying and adrenaline-pumping experience I have ever had. That much is to be expected, but add to whatever you're imagining the fact that I was a young nurse and was trying to help women give birth at the time that I realised my hospital was becoming enveloped in smoke.
In 1979, I was working as a new nurse in a small hospital in southern Oklahoma. I worked in Labour and Delivery, the department of hospitals responsible for delivering new-born babies. We were very busy that night.
A woman had just had her baby. The baby was stable and the doctor was finishing the last few stitches. I opened the door and was met with a column of black smoke. I quickly shut the door, walked over to the doctor and whispered, "Something in the hallway is on fire".
It was just the doctor, me, a nursery nurse, the mum, the dad, and the baby in the room. The doctor quickly told them the news. He said, "We have a problem. There is a lot of smoke in the hall. I don't know if there is an electrical problem or what, but we have to get out of here."
We used the sterile water in the cabinet to soak the towels and got everyone's faces wrapped. We walked out into the smoke and within a few steps were able to see that it was billowing out of the laundry shoot. We took the mum to the waiting room and went to a phone to call it in. The phones were dead.
Our unit was full of patients and there were only two nurses and two nurse aides working. This was for two active labour patients, 10 new mums and two babies. I checked the labour patient. She was now nine centimetres and wanting to push. I told her husband that we were going to have to get her out of there. By now, the smoke was coming around the doors.
I told the aide in the nursery to give all the babies to their mothers, immediately. We were going to make it down four flights of stairs and run across the street to our competitor hospital.
We got over to this hospital. The baby was delivered. The mum was taken to a bed there, and that hospital's staff took over her care. The doctor and I ran back to the parking lot to our other patients.
By now, the rest of the hospital was beginning evacuation. Luckily, all of our mums and babies were very stable. They all chose to call family and go home.
Later, it was discovered that this was arson. The arsonist had set fire to the fire alarm control panel a week before the fire he set on this day. When he started the devastating fire, he first disabled the phones. We never found out who the arsonist was. I say "he" but we don't even know that.
Kathy Hurst Davis, mum & nurse
These answers all come from quora.com, the popular online Q&A service. Ask any question and get real answers from people in the know
- 1 Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Royal baby: Live updates as the wait continues for Duchess of Cambridge's second child
Hermann Goering's daughter fails to reclaim items looted by Nazi deputy during WWII
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...