Combined External and Internal Hospital Disaster Impact and Response in a Houston Trauma Center Intensive Care Unit

This case report and literature review examines how a 2001 tropical storm caused flooding in a Houston hospital, leading to loss of electricity, communications systems, running water, and internal transportation. Life sustaining ventilators and monitors became ineffective, however no patients died because of the utility failure; triage and transfers to other facilities were important for this outcome. Battery operated communication systems are important, and key services (e.g., pharmacy, labs, and supply rooms) should be prepared for possible hazards. Contingency plans for water and emergency kits with flashlights and two-way radios should be available.
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