Houston’s medical system was staggered, but it stood up to the pounding inflicted by Hurricane Harvey’s winds and rains. But for the millions of residents of the nation’s fourth largest city huge challenges will persist for some time to their health and well-being. Texans’ tragedies may offer us painful reminders we should heed about planning and disaster preparedness.
The Gulf Coast, of course, knows hurricanes well, and experiences with Katrina, Rita, and other storms had gotten doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other care=giving facilities well-launched into emergency planning.
Still, Ben Taub—one of the metropolis’s major emergency and public care facilities—found itself inundated and struggling with sudden patient evacuations, while other hospitals, including many in the city’s sprawling medical center complex, stayed drier and open. The big Texas Medical Center had installed huge submarine protective doors, which it shut to successfully protect vital equipment critical to running hospital infrastructure. Even so, rising, rushing waters cut the center and many other hospitals off, making them islands away from stranded staff and patients in potential need.