California physician pulls patient from burning ambulance amid wildfires

As the state's largest wildfire in history bore down on Paradise, Calif., physicians, nurses and other Paradise-based Adventist Health Feather River medical professionals began evacuating patients. However, one physician was forced to use his medical expertise after leaving the facility, KCRA 3 News reports.

Here are four things to know:

1. David Russell, MD, a pediatrician at Adventist Health Feather River, and roughly 52,000 others were forced to evacuate the hospital and surrounding area last week after the Camp Fire began burning through the area.

2. Dr. Russell told KCRA 3 News that once it was confirmed all patients had evacuated the hospital, he got in his vehicle joined the sea of evacuees driving down the highway. However, the blaze quickly caught up with the sea of vehicles, and Dr. Russell said he made the choice to abandon his car and run to safety.

3. Roughly 20 yards in front of him, Dr. Russell said he came across an ambulance and discovered a patient in the vehicle.

"There was a patient in [the ambulance] that was calling me, 'Come over, come over! Get me out, get me out!'" he told the television station.

4. Dr. Russell and a paramedic unloaded the patient and moved to a nearby home, where a state firefighter was stationed with other survivors, including nurses and patients from the hospital. Realizing they might not make it past the blaze, the group of patients and medical professionals began searching the house for hoses to fight the fire themselves, eventually cooling the flames enough to escape.

"We found hoses around the house hooked up to spigots, turned the spigots on and just started defending the back corner of the house where there was active fire," Dr. Russell said. "I think you just do it. There wasn't time to call people. There was just time to say, 'You know, if we don't do this now, if we don't do this now, there might not be a next time.'"

To access the full report, click here.

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