Days of glacial weather have left at least 38 people dead nationwide, made many roads impassable, disrupted vaccine distribution and blanketed nearly three-quarters of the continental United States in snow.
In Texas, hospitals such as St. David’s South Austin Medical Center said they were transferring some patients to other facilities as they desperately tried to conserve resources. Parts of the ceiling collapsed at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas after a pipe burst, spraying water directly into the emergency room.
Some of the challenges facing the hospitals are tied to problems cascading through the state’s beleaguered health care system since the storm and power grid crisis. An influx of dialysis patients, for instance, is placing stress on hospital emergency rooms because many dialysis centers — which require electricity, heat and large amounts of filtered water to properly provide care — are temporarily closed.
At one of Houston Methodist’s hospitals, doctors turned an old intensive care unit into a makeshift dialysis unit, transferring 42 patients out of the cramped emergency room on Wednesday. And in parts of East Texas, health care workers are growing so alarmed about patients going without dialysis treatment over the past week that they are asking local police departments to do welfare checks.
“This can be a death sentence for some of our patients,” said Kara McClure, a social worker in the Tyler area.
New York times