Texas hospitals evacuate patients as one county official seeks a refrigerated truck to store the dead

a person riding on the back of a truck (C) Provided by The Independent

Hospitals in Texas have begun evacuating their patients as statewide energy failures precipitated by Winter Storm Uri leave the facilities without access to water and heat. Health workers are desperately searching for accommodation for their patients, but are finding most facilities have reached their capacity. "No one hospital currently has the capacity to accept transport of a large number of patients," David Huffstutler, CEO of St David's HealthCare, told The Washington Post in a statement Thursday.

Doctors are not only trying to save the infirm in their hospitals, but also numerous doses of coronavirus vaccine shots, which require refrigeration. The situation inside Texas hospitals has become dire. Local broadcaster KVUE reported that St.

David's South Austin Medical Centre's staff was asked to use trash bags to remove human feces from toilets.

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In Galveston, the county had to request the services of a refrigerated truck to store bodies as cold weather deaths spiked. County Judge Mark Henry told ABC Eyewitness News that the medical examiner made an emergency request for the vehicles. "We were notified of an emergency request about lunchtime today that the medical examiner needed a capacity of at least 20 and as many as 50, in addition to the normal storage," Mr Henry said.

At least 24 people have died due to the storm. Hospitals and government facilities in Galveston County were subject to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas's rolling outages, leaving the city's leadership literally in the dark. Mr Henry criticised ERCOT's leadership and complained that the supposed temporary outages have not been temporary.

"What we quickly found out was they weren't rolling at all,. They went off and they have stayed off for as much as 48 hours at this point and counting. This is unacceptable," he said. ""It's not like they didn't know this was coming," Henry said. "The forecast said the ice storm was in the forecast for at least a week prior to the event."

Back in Austin, St. David's had to call in water trucks to keep the building's boiler operable. Even with the boiler on, Mr Huffstutler said the building was losing heat.

As hospitals in the region battle water scarcity, they have also had to contend with drops in water pressure. Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston responded to the water shortage by asking his residents to stop running water as a means to save their pipes from freezing. He told them the hospitals needed the water, and instructed grocery stores to send healthcare facilities any surplus water they had.

"We're all working together, just like we've done before, pulling resources from wherever they exist, and then sharing those resources," Mr Turner said during a press conference.

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