Family taking refuge from Hurricane Ida in Starkville rush 9-year-old son to OCH Regional Medical Center for emergency surgery

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – On Monday, the Merwin family packed up and left their home in Bush, Louisiana after Hurricane Ida caused widespread power mass power outages around their home.

But just hours after getting to Starkville, their son was rushed to the emergency room at OCH Regional Medical Center.

“Thinking that you get here…you can rest…and just as soon as you get into bed, eyes weren’t even closed and he started screaming,” father Jeremy said.

Jeremy and his wife Kristen say it was some time around 5:30 a.m. when they heard their 9-year-old son Bubba cry out in pain.

“I was hurting really bad,” the boy says.

The family of five had to drive from about 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. before they found a hotel that could accommodate Jeremy, Kristen, Bubba, his two sisters and the two family dogs.

“Just looking on each side of the interstate, you couldn’t count the amount of hotels on each hand there was so many,” Jeremy says.

“But there was no vacancy,” Kristen added.

After spending nearly eight hours trying to find a hotel, Jeremy and Kristen had only minutes to find a hospital for their son.

“I was just looking for the closest one and I pulled up that first one and it was eight minutes away,” Kristen says.

That hospital was OCH Regional Medical Center.

“I was wondering how packed it was going to be because our hospitals at home, they’re crazy packed,” Kristen said.

But in a matter of minutes, the OCH medical team diagnosed Bubba with appendicitis and rushed him back for emergency surgery.

“Appendicitis is something that you want to go ahead and take care of surgically before you end up with a rupture from appendicitis,” says Dr. Daryl Guest, the OCH general surgeon who performed the operation.

Before Kristen and Jeremy had too much time to worry, the surgery was over and Bubba had a smile on his face.

“The doctors were really nice,” the 9-year-old says.

The nursing staff also made sure to take care of Kristen, who took Bubba to the hospital while Jeremy stayed with their other kids.

“I was nervous waiting but a couple of the ladies came from the hospital staff and they brought me a coffee while I waited,” she says.

Not even the added strain of COVID-19 could prevent the medical team from providing the best care possible.

“You can’t turn away somebody that needs assistance, you just make room,” Dr. Guest says. “So in his case, we just had to make room.”

Mississippi State even sent Bubba some get well soon gifts, including his very own cowbell. His parents say he is still sore but is doing well and will be ready to head home Saturday.

“That’s my boy,” Jeremy says. “We do everything together.”

“I’m 100 percent just thankful for that OCH,” he added.

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