Local News

WakeMed Hospital Staff Throws Baby Shower For Newborn Evacuee, Mom

Posted September 8, 2005

— One-day-old Leonard Carney was about the only thing his mother, Latoya Carney, could carry with her from New Orleans. Everything she owned back home is gone after flooding from Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city last week.

Now, Carney has a truckload of gifts from the hospital staff at WakeMed, one of 22 local hospitals receiving patients from the Gulf Coast disaster area.

"Several of the nurses started talking about her situation," said registered nurse Elizabeth Rice, who has been treating Carney. "We got to talking about gathering some things together and then we thought, 'baby shower.'"

As the floodwaters rose in New Orleans, Carney felt labor pain and checked into the city's University Hospital. Tests there showed she was not in labor. So, they discharged her.

"When they discharged me, the water was up to my neck," Carney said.

A helicopter carried her to nearby Slidell, La., but the electricity was out there. Carney says that then, a woman came out of nowhere offering help.

"She asked did anyone want a ride to Baton Rouge and I was like, 'yeah,'" Carney said.

At a Baton Rouge bus station, the expectant mother called her brother in Raleigh.

"I told her to just get on the bus," said Casey Carney. "I bought her a bus ticket to get up here."

Almost two days later, she arrived in Raleigh.

"I panicked, but I made it," Carney said.

The danger and confusion did not affect baby Leonard, who was born early Wednesday morning.

While he and his mom arrived in Raleigh with nothing, they will leave with a bounty of gifts and warm wishes.

Carney will stay with family in Raleigh until she can be reunited with her other three children now staying in Texas.


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