The ongoing winter storm had forced at least two hospitals in Austin, Texas to issue instructions to nurses, patients, and guests to try as they can to use hand sanitizers instead of water to wash their hands.
The power and water outages continued across the Lone Star State for a fifth day forcing health officials to evacuate residents at both St. David’s South Austin Medical Center and Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Ambulances lined up outside both facilities to transport patients back to their homes as the complete loss of heat and water made it impossible for them to stay in hospitals.
“Because this is a state-wide emergency situation that is also impacting other hospitals within the Austin area, no one hospital currently has the capacity to accept the transport of a large number of patients,” an official statement reads.
Patients and guests were urged not to shower or wash hands even after using bathrooms with toilets unable to flush.
Surgeries were rescheduled as well as “non-emergent” medical procedures. Staff was ordered to fish waste out of toilets into garbage bags as water bottles were distributed to nurses and doctors.
“We anticipate the temperature in the building will be more difficult to maintain as the temperature drops. We do have a limited supply of fleece blankets available.”