CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A medical crew from the Queen City took off for Texas late Tuesday afternoon. Their mission is to help some of the most critical need medical patients in Houston hospitals who need to be moved.
"It's probably the most humbling experiences you'll ever do," said Shellie Lynn O'Day, a paramedic who was on board one of three planes heading to the gulf coast.
The medical planes are part of Carolinas Healthcare System Mobile Medicine team.
The planes took off from an airfield out Charlotte-Douglas International Airport around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon. On board was plenty of water and medical supplies.
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Each plane could act like a mini intensive care unit, along with eight pilots and eight medical crew members.
"I actually worked at another facility when Katrina happened," said O'Day.
O'Day jumped at the opportunity to help those in need once again.
Perhaps more important than the supplies on board, is the love she is bringing from the Queen City to the heart of Texas.
"It's helping patients in the most critical need and being able to be a part of their life too," said O'Day, when asked why she joined a traveling medical team 22 years ago.
Shellie and the rest of the Medcenter Air crew have a big task ahead. They will be taxing critical need patients out of Houston hospitals.
"Evacuations start and the healthiest patients get transported out first and then a lot of time the sickest are left," explained O'Day.
As the crews took off for a staging area in Temple, Texas, they were mentally preparing to see the natural disaster first hand.
"That's the part you have to adapt to yourself. You have to be open minded and willing to go with the flow," said O'Day.
The Charlotte crew was called in to help by FEMA and are scheduled to stay in Texas for 5 days. They could be asked to stay longer, depending on how many patients need to be transported.