back to top

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.

Posted on

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.

Bayshore Medical Center in Pasadena is evacuating its 196 patients. #abc13 #HurricaneHarvey

Bayshore patients are being moved to other medical centers in the surrounding area, including Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, Conroe Regional Medical Center, Houston Northwest Medical Center, Kingwood Medical Center, Mainland Medical Center, Pearland Medical Center, Tomball Regional Medical Center and West Houston Medical Center.

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.

Flood waters around Ben Taub Hospital. Waiting to see when and if evacuations will get underway. @abc13houston

"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.

Ben Taub Hospital now. @abc13houston #Harvey

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.

MORE: We've learned from contacts that pharmacy, food supplies & mechanical equipment are in basement of Ben Taub t… https://t.co/zu8GGTdeBU

BuzzFeed News has reached out to the Harris Health System, which owns and operates Ben Taub Hospital, as well as the Catastrophic Medical Operations Center, which coordinates hospital evacuations in the area, for more information.

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.

Drone footage shows extensive flooding near Texas Medical Center in Houston https://t.co/N4Ary1owdh

The doors were deployed at Texas Children's Hospital, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital, and University of Texas Health Science Center, according to the Chronicle.

The doors were part of a safety upgrade implemented after a 2001 tropical storm wreaked havoc on local hospitals, forcing evacuations and destroying medical research.

@TXMedCenter earlier today. Go away Harvey and leave this great city so it can begin to recover - and recover it wi… https://t.co/bIK6uTnzi4

The MD Anderson Cancer Center said Sunday that it had experienced flooding conditions, and urged patients and staff not to travel to the hospital.

High water conditions persist. Patients and staff should not attempt to travel. #houwx #harvey

"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."

Near MD Anderson in the Medical Center in Houston #kens5eyewitness

Inpatient care was still ongoing Sunday, MD Anderson said, but outpatient services were canceled.

Our inpatients are safely being cared for by staff who are currently onsite who are acting as our Ride-Out Team. #houwx

Other medical centers in the area said they were cancelling upcoming appointments, and hoped to reopen late next week.

Harris Health’s Ambulatory Surgical Center, health clinics & pharmacies will be closed Mon. 8/28-Wed. 8/30. They may reopen Thurs. 8/31

We've contacted clients w/ appointments Monday to reschedule. If you have a ? about a visit to Menninger call 713-275-5000. #Harvey2017

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.

RUMOR CONTROL: @MethodistHosp Hospital in Texas Medical Center is NOT flooding. All patients & staff are safe. #houstonflood

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.