Flooding disrupts care at Houston hospital, cancer center

One of many nation’s busiest trauma facilities started clearing area Monday for the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey even because the storm continued its days-lengthy onslaught of rain.

Ben Taub Hospital personnel transferred a handful of sufferers to different amenities and took a lot wanted deliveries of meals and recent linens after spending the weekend brief-staffed and with dwindling provides, stated Bryan McLeod, a spokesman for the Houston hospital’s dad or mum firm, Harris Well being System.

The objective was not a full evacuation however to maneuver about 60 of the 350 sufferers from the 440-mattress facility in time to tackle new sufferers as soon as the storm lastly strikes on the widespread flooding recedes, McLeod stated.

“That is setting the desk,” he stated early Tuesday. “Ultimately, when the rain stops, individuals resume their lives and get again out on the roads, we will see extra trauma occasions.”

Floodwater and sewage obtained into the basement of the hospital’s fundamental constructing and affected pharmacy, meals service and different key operations for a time.

Heavy rains thwarted plans Sunday to maneuver sufferers to different hospitals within the Texas Medical Middle, a big medical complicated southwest of downtown. Solely the designated “journey-out group” had been working within the hospital, with water ranges across the metropolis too excessive for extra employees — together with the hospital’s chief medical officer — to get in.

The close by College of Texas MD Anderson Most cancers Middle additionally canceled outpatient providers, appointments and surgical procedures in any respect Houston-space places via Tuesday, and informed sufferers to not try and journey due to excessive water within the space of the medical complicated. Sufferers who already had been admitted are receiving care as normal, a spokeswoman stated.

Different hospitals additionally bore the brunt of the storm. As of Monday morning, San Antonio Hearth Division firefighters had transferred about 800 hospital sufferers from Houston and different areas affected by Harvey, stated division spokesman Woody Woodward. The town had an EMS convoy in Houston consisting of 12 staff, two ambulances and one am-bus — a “gigantic” ambulance with a number of beds, he stated.

The state of affairs at Ben Taub briefly raised fears and reminiscences of the dire straits at some New Orleans hospitals the place sufferers have been trapped for days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Ben Taub, a big public hospital that cares for most of the metropolis’s poor and uninsured, requested authorities for evacuation assist Sunday however new places for the sufferers needed to be discovered, stated Houston emergency administration spokesman Gary Norman. Excessive-clearance automobiles would take sufferers to different hospitals within the complicated and elsewhere in Houston if want be, he stated.

Harris Well being System operates two different medical amenities — Clinton East, a 50-mattress nursing residence whose residents have been moved Friday to Ben Taub due to considerations Clinton East would flood, and LBJ, a hospital on the northeast aspect of downtown Houston that now has about one hundred fifty individuals from the group looking for shelter, “one other one hundred fifty mouths to feed,” McLeod stated.

No different Houston hospitals reported critical injury however a number of canceled outpatient providers due to the flooding. West Houston Medical Middle spokeswoman Selena Mejia stated that the hospital isn’t providing outpatient providers however has admitted a couple of essential care sufferers from different metropolis hospitals.

Ben Taub and different hospitals in Houston’s medical complicated shored up their defenses after the town was swamped by Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. That storm brought about a blackout, inundated medical middle streets with as much as 9 ft of water, and compelled evacuations of sufferers, some airlifted from rooftops by helicopter. Injury totaled greater than $2 billion.

After a evaluate of the world’s flood weaknesses, member hospitals moved their electrical vaults and backup turbines out of basements to areas above flood degree. Scores of present buildings have been fitted with flood gates, and new buildings have been constructed surrounded by berms. Underground tunnels have been outfitted with one hundred submarine doorways, some 12 ft tall. The $756 million invoice was paid by the Federal Emergency Administration Company; tens of millions extra have been spent on the general public works tasks.

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