Local hospitals clear beds to make room for evacuees

Seton hospital room. (KXAN photo)
Seton hospital room. (KXAN photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Local hospitals have already taken in evacuees from hospitals near the coast and are preparing to take in more. So far, Seton hospitals in Central Texas have received 28 evacuees.

Hospital staff say the evacuees come from Victoria, Bay City, El Campo, Corpus Christi and Eagle Lake. A few weeks ago, Dell Seton Medical Center said it was at 105 percent capacity, which forced the hospital to hold patients in the emergency department until more beds opened.

On Monday, the hospital said it is at 80 percent capacity and is prepared to take in dozens of new patients. To make room for the possible evacuees, hospital staff say they postponed elective surgeries, identified people doing well enough to be discharged and leaned on nursing homes to take in the elderly.

“I’m still worried about what Houston has in store. We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” said Christopher Ziebell, medical director at Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas. “If they continue to have rising flood waters, then hospitals that are currently sheltered (might) need to evacuate and if that happens then we’re going to be ready for them.”

Ziebell says the hospital did this exact same process during previous natural disasters, such as hurricanes Ike and Rita.

St. David’s HealthCare says it is also treating those who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. So far, the hospital says it has treated more than 100 patients with a variety of medical conditions.

“We are also providing displaced residents with treatment for various medical conditions that require ongoing care,” said St. David’s HealthCare Chief Medical Officer Ken Mitchell.

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