Neighbors form human chain to help woman in labor wade through Houston floodwaters

(ABC NEWS) -- A Houston woman who went into labor as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey surrounded her apartment was helped to a rescue truck by a human chain of neighbors and firefighters.

Annie Smith, 32, said she was mentally preparing herself to have to undergo a home birth on Sunday as she and her husband, Greg Smith, watched the rising floodwaters make the 2-mile drive to a hospital no longer an option.

“When I saw all the flooding, I turned to Greg and was like, ‘I’m really starting to get scared now,’” Annie Smith told ABC News. “It kind of dawned on me that this is it — I’m in actual labor.”


The Smiths, both doctors, moved to Houston from Virginia earlier this summer to complete medical fellowships — Annie Smith in geriatrics and Greg Smith in pediatric anesthesiology.

Greg Smith went into “super doctor mode,” according to his wife, and began collecting supplies around the house, like scissors and sewing needles, that could be used for the birth. He asked his mom, who was visiting, to boil water to sterilize the supplies.

A neighbor who went to check on the Smiths on Sunday morning sent an email to their apartment complex message page asking for help. Within 30 minutes, at least 15 people were in their apartment and ready to help with the delivery.

"There are a lot of medical trainees in the [apartment] complex, so a general surgery resident next door came over, and some emergency residents and finally an OB-GYN intern showed up too,” Greg Smith said. “People dug through their supplies and brought sutures and scalpels and anything that could be needed.”

The couple had been continuously dialing 911 and the Texas National Guard’s emergency number since 8 a.m. but never got an answer. Harvey, which first made landfall Friday as a Category 4 hurricane before weakening to a tropical storm that has stalled over southeastern Texas for days, has shattered the contiguous-U.S. rainfall record for a tropical storm, according to the National Weather Service.

A phone call made by Annie Smith, to the director of her fellowship program, was what finally got a rescue crew to the Smiths’ front door.

“I think it was [the director’s] father who lived near a fire department, and he walked to it and told them what was happening,” Greg Smith said.

Less than an hour later, around noon, Greg Smith looked up and saw a truck arriving outside.

© 2017 ABC News


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