Dr. Marc Bloom, president and CEO of Houston Methodist, who is in charge of seven hospitals in the Houston area, said two of his facilities were completely without water for days.
One of the hospitals ended up collecting rainwater and using it to flush toilets.
Bloom said that when there are water issues — as hospitals have previously experienced during hurricanes — there is an influx of dialysis patients who surge into emergency rooms.
“Unfortunately, most dialysis now happens … through a couple of big chains nationally who have a lot of small sites that patients go to. And they're not on generators. They have water issues, they don't have water storage. … Hospitals become their backstop,” Bloom said.
The system’s main hospital was treating about 15 patients at any given time in their conference room, he said.
“It's a sacred duty, frankly, to take care of these individuals, but every one of our hospitals has been overwhelmed by dialysis patients. Every one takes conference rooms, creates triage centers and then creates areas within the hospital that normally wouldn't be a dialysis center,” he said.