Harvey forces hospitals, nursing homes to evacuate

ABC News' senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton discusses what Houston hospitals are doing now amid flooding and evacuations and the health issues Texans may face from the toxic flood waters.
2:21 | 08/28/17

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Transcript for Harvey forces hospitals, nursing homes to evacuate
We are back with more on the flooding catastrophe in Texas. Just learning that more than 30,000 people are going to need shelter. That came from FEMA administrator Brock long. This storm is putting the most vulnerable at risk forcing hospitals to evacuate as well joined by Dr. Jennifer Ashton to tell us what's happening right now in the hospitals, in the flood zone then the major health issues that people may be facing from all of that toxic water sitting around so first let's begin with the hospitals. So by the numbers there are approximately 24 hospitals in Houston proper. More if you count the surrounding areas. That represents thousands of patient beds that are in those hospitals staff that in large measure can't get in or out and most importantly supplies that are delivered on a daily basis to hospitals, food and blood that cannot get to those hospitals. We have gotten reports that one hospital, Ben Taub general hospital has been ordered to evacuate by Harris county. They've attempted to remove safely 17 or 18 patients who were on ventilatory support yesterday with the first attempt. They had to stop temporarily and turn around because they could not safely do that. They will attempt again today. So to be clear, this is an all hands on deck circumstance in every single hospital in Houston. That's inside the hospitals. What point rest of the city. I think the major medical story here is that there will be a significant exacerbation of anyone in the surrounding area with a chronic medical condition. So people needing dialysis, people with heart failure, with chronic respiratory conditions, these are patients who need care on a daily basis who will not be able to get that care. We have to remember the everyday medical emergencies, imagine what your average er looks like, how many people are in there every single day. Those people with heart attacks going in to labor with seizures cannot get to hospitals and then we have to remember there are hundredsf thousands of people potentially without electricity without food, without water. And, Jen, I know you believe that this is just the beginning, that there is a massive health crisis looming. Absolutely, no question. We have to remember with flooding brings mosquito-borne illness. That is not clean. People will get lacerations and wounds that will become infected. Diarrhea, dehydration, heat-related illness and unfortunately as always the poor and disadvantaged will be hardest hit so we're going to be on top of this. This is just beginning. Jen Ashton, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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