A Heroine NICU Nurse From My Country

By Salma Najjar, BSN RN CM CCNE CPHQ

NANN Footprints: Stories from the NICU August 2020 Bonus

Beirut Image

You may have seen the picture of a Lebanese NICU nurse holding three newborns that has spread all over social media.

No words can express the deep emotional feelings of humanity in the midst of this catastrophe. The extent of the explosion blast caused massive damage that lead to building destructions, shattered glasses, and doors, and nothing remains in its place. Even people's bodies were displaced. What the Lebanese lived through on the 4th of August 2020 resembled a preview of a horror movie.

At the hospital of Saint George in Lebanon Beirut in the NICU on the 4th floor, it was a regular day for Pamela Zaynoon, a NICU nurse who was taking care of 5 premature newborns with another nurse. The hospital was severely affected and destroyed during the event.

Pamela said, "I was attending to a phone call when I heard a loud explosion sound followed by a severe shaking, similar to an earthquake, and followed by a massive air blowing that drafted everything around me. The ceiling fell off on us. I woke up to find myself in another place. I saw my colleagues being injured and full of blood.

"The medical team was running to rescue and save each other. I moved back to the unit to check on the preterm infants that were in incubators. Because of the massive destruction, it was difficult to access NICU from the regular front door, I had to access the unit from another entrance."

"The place was similar to a war zone. I started removing the metals, ruins from the incubators to rescue the babies, deeply I was praying that they are safe and not to be shocked with a horrific view. I thanked God that the babies were safe, I held a set of preterm triplets in my arm, my colleague who was injured took another baby and a father helped with the fifth one. The scene was horrible to view, we had to move down 4 floors on the stairs. I was holding the triplets tightly in my arms so no harm can occur to them. I did not think of anything except to take them safely out of the ruined hospital to a much safer place."

Pamela continues, "We were stepping on shattered glasses, blood, ruins. I was cautiously moving with the babies, watching my steps. We couldn't believe what happened. Those babies are our own, we take good care of them prior to be discharged safely and healthy to their parents. It was impossible to leave them behind..."

The picture of the heroine nurse rescuing the triplets was taken by a journalist photographer who happened to rush to the hospital after the massive explosion blast. The nurse had to move with the babies for a distance of 5 kilometers to reach another safe hospital. On her way there, people started giving away some of their clothes to cover the babies to keep them warm.

The image of the nurse traveling to safety with the babies demonstrates a striking contrast: Life and Hope versus Death and Despair.

In the picture, the nurse looks as if she is holding a hidden strength to rescue those preterm infants. The strength of deep emotional humanity is summarized in this picture. NICU Nurse Pamela is a heroine in her humanity, dedication, and strength despite the pain, shock, and devastation.

This is the story of a heroine NICU Nurse from my country.