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Tiny Chesterfield baby escapes Hurricane Matthew

Posted at 1:19 PM, Oct 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 14:20:59-04

RICHMOND, Va. — A community has rallied around a Chesterfield couple whose baby was born two months early while they were on summer vacation.

April Young, a Colonial Heights teacher, and her husband Philip, a Stafford firefighter, were in South Carolina when April’s water broke.

It was August.

Baby Cooper was not due until November.

Cooper was delivered via emergency C section at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He weighed just one pound and 15 ounces.

Cooper and his parents stayed in South Carolina for weeks as doctors monitored the pre-mature baby’s progress.

April, Philip, and Cooper Young.

April, Philip, and Cooper Young.

It was while the family was in South Carolina that Hurricane Matthew began to brew in the Caribbean.

“The first talks of transfer were mentioned Sept. 30, before the threat of the hurricane. It was just mentioned because Cooper had improved enough to where the team of doctors said they would be comfortable having Cooper transferred to a hospital closer to home,” Philip Young said. “Unfortunately not a lot of things get accomplished on a Friday afternoon. On Monday morning, the subject was brought up again and the case worker did her best to not get our hopes up. She stated it could take two days or two weeks and that insurance usually denied requests for transfer when ‘medical necessity’ to transfer does not exist.”

It was during talks with the insurance company that the threat of evacuating the hospital due to the hurricane became a real concern for hospital staff.

“We sat at the table and the team asked us point blank,” Philip recalled. “‘We’re concerned about Hurricane Matthew. If we can fly you home to Richmond would you be prepared to leave this afternoon?'”

The Youngs said they were “astounded” by the development and jumped at the opportunity.

At 10:30 that morning they were “approved for transfer.”

“I had the easy job,” Philip said. “My wife hates to fly, so I got to stay and fly with Cooper.”

That afternoon the ground crew came and packaged Cooper up for the flight,” he said.

Philip and Cooper Young

Philip and Cooper Young

“April had gone back to the campsite to pack everything up and head north to Chester,” Philip said.

Father and son landed in Richmond at about 6:30 p.m.

“Just in time for shift change at VCU Medical Center,” Philip said. “Cooper was being checked in by some amazing nurses. There was a connection between some of the nurses [in Richmond] and a nurse [in South Carolina], so there was a lot of anticipation about Cooper’s arrival. They swarmed on Cooper like they had known him since birth. Couldn’t ask for a better transition.”

Cooper is now growing stronger by the day at VCU Medical Center in Richmond.

He is up to four pounds five ounces.

“We feel that all the credit goes to Cooper’s village for all the support and love they have shown him and of course all things medical are due to the AMAZING doctors at both the Medical University of South Carolina and here at VCU Medical Center,” his father said.

Family friends have set up a GoFundMe account to help the Young family cover their unexpected medical costs.

Cooper Young

Cooper Young

For updates, follow Cooper’s Chronicles on Facebook.