AUSTIN, Texas - St. David's South Austin Medical Center said Wednesday night that they have lost water pressure from the City of Austin.
Since water feeds their boiler, this means they are losing heat.
Right now the hospital has fewer than 300 patients and is now working with the city to get patients who can be discharged home. Those most in need are being transported to other area hospitals.
The hospital says it is distributing bottles and jugs of water to patients and employees and is working to get water trucks to the hospital as quickly as possible. The hospital also says it is working with the city to secure portable toilets.
All non-emergency procedures are also being canceled.
St. David's says that it was able to secure and source food, linens, medication, and supplies to care for patients through its national partner, HCA Healthcare.
Four St. David’s HealthCare hospitals,St. David’s Medical Center, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, St. David’s North Austin Medical Center and Heart Hospital of Austin, are located within the area of the City of Austin boil water notice.
St.David's says it is working with it's supply chain to provide water for their patients, staff and hospital operations. St.David's say they began supplementing their onsite water inventory last week, and supplies are continuing to arrive. St.David's says they were able to get a water truck in to alleviate the issues on the heating system.
St.David's said in a statement Thursday:
"With the water truck and the recirculation of water in the chillers, we were able to create a closed-loop system in the hospital to keep it warm. At this time, the hospital is no longer experiencing heating issues. We have deployed both local and out-of-state water trucks to that facility, which should enable us to connect to recharge the water pressure at the hospital that would allow the use of toilets and other non-potable water needs. We have plenty of water resources in terms of bottled water for use with patients and potable needs. Out of caution, yesterday we transported approximately 30 patients who were either vulnerable or could easily be cared for at another facility. We continue to work with the City of Austin in an effort to resolve the water outage, but they have been unsuccessful in resolving the water system issue affecting service and water pressure to our hospital."
St.David's says it is deploying water tank trucks onsite at three hospitals, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, St. David’s Medical Center and Heart Hospital of Austin, to connect and pressurize their systems due to water outages and/or low-pressure. While the duration of this issue remains unknown at this time, all St. David’s HealthCare facilities are prepared to handle the situation and have a sufficient supply of water.
St.David's says all hospitals have maintained power throughout the weather event, and we have not had to go on emergency power generation because hospitals are exempted from any mandated power blackouts. St. David's says one of the biggest challenges has been the inability to discharge patients due to mobility and transportation issues, as well as power and water outages at their homes, and limited access to shelters in the area.
St. David's statement continues saying:
"We have sheltered hundreds of employees in our hospitals so they did not have to travel to and from the facilities while the roadways were unsafe and could remain onsite to continue to care for patients. They have been rotating working and sleeping, which made it possible for us to maintain staffing and coverage. Our employees have been nothing short of phenomenal. They are tired, but spirits are good, and it is their resiliency and tenacity that has helped us weather this storm and remain focused on keeping the needs of our patients first."