A surgeon from Dickinson left his flooded-out home Saturday and made the unlikeliest commute.

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Dr. Stephen Kimmel  guided his canoe through waist-high water for at least a mile in order to get to a Clear Lake-area hospital to perform surgery on a 16-year-old with a life-threatening condition.

“Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes,” Dr. Kimmel provided in a press release. “This young man’s life would have been changed for the worse forever if we hadn’t been able to perform surgery when we did. In the end, it all turned out very well.”

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The teen, who was suffering from a testicular torsion, will make a full recovery.

But Dr. Kimmel wasn’t the only hero braving the water for patients during Harvey:

According to reports, Cathy Rude, a midwife of 25 years, made a harrowing journey of her own to get to a patient experiencing labor pains leading up to the brunt of the storm.


“I was concerned, as she was, that if her water were to break, things would happen very quickly,” Rude said in an interview. “So, we started asking how I was going to get out of the house if that happened.”

Rude was almost forced to give up after her truck could not make it through the flooded streets, but when her mother-to-be Andrea Haley saw a neighbor with an inflatable swan down her street, she asked the “white horse” if they would be willing to pick her up:

“Andrea called me and said, ‘A swan is coming to pick you up.’ I laughed and gathered all my stuff and opened the front door and sure enough there was an inflatable swan with my neighbor behind it,” Rude said further. “So I climbed on and she pushed me down the street to the end of the street and I was able to climb off the swan and into the pick-up truck and off we went to the birth center. She had the baby later that evening.”

Screen shot of’s photo provided courtesy of Andrea Haley

Rude was anything but after her safe delivery:


“A midwife is not just a care provider, she’s your friend. So of course, she wanted me to be there. I think she was appreciative, but I don’t think she was very surprised, because as midwives, that’s just what we do.”

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Anna Caplan contributes to Rare Houston and Rare Animals. 
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