WEBSTER, TX-- When you're faced with driving through flood waters, you know the best thing to do is turn around, right? But what if you didn't have a choice? What if it was life or death? That's what Dr. Bassem Maximos faced this week in Webster.
He had two patients going into labor at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center Tuesday night as torrential rains were flooding the roads, so he plowed through the danger, hoping his BMW would make it. "I must have seen about maybe 50 or 60 cars already stalled or stuck there," says Maxiomos. "The water kept rising and my car stalled.... I opened the door and then all of a sudden, water came at me. And I was like, 'Oh my God! This is a lot of water!" It was enough water to total his car.
But Maximos wasn't giving up. He knew the spot on Old Galveston Road where his car died was less than a half mile away from the hospital, so he decided to plod through waist-high waters to get to his patients, who were now getting a little panicked.
"I was like, 'Oh my gosh. What if I push him out right here and the doctor's not here?'" remembers Monika Thiede, who was having her first child, Bradley.
This was number three for Melissa Vasquez but her first C-section, "I was scared. I didn't know what to think. I was just hoping that he would make it."
But neither hell nor high water would stop this determined doctor. He was frequently calling the nurses to update his progress through the flood waters. When he finally made it, his problems weren't over. Soaking wet, he slipped and fell on his back on the hard hospital floor.
"It didn't stop me. I still got up and went to my patients," Maximos says with a smile, "From day one, I told them, 'I'm gonna take you through this journey and we're gonna have a baby. And I'll be there and take care of you.' And I wanted to provide what I promised." That he did. Both babies were delivered without problems, about 30 minutes apart.
"He truly does care about his patients. You can tell," Velasquez says, snuggling little Lila and struggling to hold back tears.
Thiede agrees, "He put my baby and myself before anything that he had going on that day. And that's really important."