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Hurricane Harvey devastates critical access hospital, forces closure

Roof and interior of facility were badly damaged, and police say the hospital has also been burglarized.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Credit: CRMCCredit: CRMC

At least two hospitals in Hurricane Harvey's destructive path could not withstand the storm's raging wind and torrential rain. The Aransas Pass community has at least temporarily lost their hospital, Care Regional Medical Center, as the roof suffered severe damage, according to local media reports. The interior of the facility was also ravaged, and to add insult to serious injury, police say the hospital has also been burglarized.

An investigation is currently under way.

Aransas Pass Care Regional Medical Center Director Alicia Hart, MD, was quoted as saying the medical center is a designated critical access hospital serving the Aransas Pass community as well as surrounding areas.  The system also has multiple clinics, including specialty clinics, and is locally owned.

[Also: HHS declares public health emergency in the wake of Hurricane Harvey]

She said in the next few days they will start formulating a plan for dealing with damage done and will consider the potential for rebuilding. In the meantime, they have no choice but to close until further notice due to the extent of the damage done.

"They are working on it. They just toured the damage today," she said. "I'm sure we will be meeting extensively and working on rebuilding.  Rebuilding will be at the mercy of the community services (water, electricity, plus debris removal). Hopefully the community with prioritize rebuilding the hospital too."

As of Monday morning, Houston's Ben Taub Hospital was still trying to evacuate their patients after flood waters infiltrated the basement and battered the medical center's electricity. However, none had been evacuated yet. Taub is a large regional trauma center. It was unclear how many would be moved, though critical patients were slated to be moved first, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

An attempt to transport some pediatric patients Sunday night was canceled thanks to rising flood waters around the facility.

The hospital has requested ambulance buses to help evacuate patients due to the basement flooding, which has left it with only two days worth of dry food.

Also a safety net hospital, Taub is on lockdown because of surrounding water, and has  submitted a formal request to the Catastrophic Medical Operations Center, the agency that provides high-water ambulance buses to hospitals during disasters.

Bayshore Medical Center also announced Sunday that it was suspending services, including at its 24-hour emergency center, and had decided to evacuate patients, the Chronicle said.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
Email the writer: beth.sandborn@himssmedia.com

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