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Hospitals In Houston Prepare To Evacuate After Heavy Rains, Storm Damage
Relentless rainstorms have forced several local hospitals to take precautions against flooding, and even begin evacuating patients.
Some hospitals in Houston were preparing to evacuate Sunday night as flood levels continue to rise, while others deployed emergency measures to keep patients safe amid the deluge.
The Bayshore Medical Center, near Houston, started to evacuate patients on Sunday. The hospital said in a statement that it is preparing to move its 196 patients and to suspend its 24-hour emergency services.
Ben Taub Hospital also started evacuating its critical care patients Sunday, after its basement flooded, disrupting the building's power, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said at a press conference.
"You can't run a hospital without power," Emmett said. The judge did not know how many people had been evacuated from Ben Taub so far, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The hospital, which is located in the Texas Medical Center, currently has about 360 patients, including 17 or 18 on life support, a Ben Taub spokesperson told the Chronicle. Patients on life support were evacuated first.
The Texas Medical Center said Sunday that weather conditions had resulted in several closures at its hospitals. Massive "submarine" flood gates doors were slammed shut across the center early Sunday in an effort to seal off lower floors from flooding.
The MD Anderson Cancer Center said Sunday that it had experienced flooding conditions, and urged patients and staff not to travel to the hospital.
"No patients have been impacted inside the institution," said an MD Anderson statement, according to Chron.com. "Plans are in place and activity is underway to handle remediation of water damage."
Inpatient care was still ongoing Sunday, MD Anderson said, but outpatient services were canceled.
Other medical centers in the area said they were cancelling upcoming appointments, and hoped to reopen late next week.
Still, some hospital facilities were still operating as of Sunday night. At least one, Houston Methodist Hospital, reassured the public that it had not been affected by the flooding.