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Premature Babies At Redding Hospital Threatened By Carr Fire Brought To Sacramento As A Precaution

REDDING (CBS13) - With all the evacuations due to the Carr Fire, there were some that required a delicate touch. Tiny babies were airlifted from Redding to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

As the Carr Fire fire devoured anything in its path, firefighters attacked from every direction and medical teams from Redding's Mercy Medical Center began mobilizing their own air and ground crews, preparing for the delicate six-hour transfer of five premature babies, airlifted about 160 miles South to UC Davis hospital in Sacramento.

A lot of it is really the set up getting to the unit transferring the baby," said Neonatologist Payam Vali. He was was one of a team of specialists called in to help. And says the babies were evacuated as a precaution only.

"Knowing that we were able to transfer five babies in that timeline of about six hours this is a great achievement," he said.

It's an achievement Santa Rosa Doctor Scott Witt knows all too well.

"Imagine trying to basically simulate the womb during a transport where you're subjected to widely variable temps and vibration and noise and smoke," he said.

He's the Director of Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital's neonatal ICU, and he never thought he'd pull off such a harrowing rescue.

Last year when the Santa Rosa inferno reached his neighborhood, Witt made the gut-wrenching choice: let his home burn, or save some of the hospital's babies born early. He choice the preemies.

"We love them like they're our own children, so it's worth it," he said.

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