Nursing homes and Hospitals in Texas, Louisiana, Florida evacuate

National attention in this country is again focused on the Gulf coast as Hurricane Rita makes its way slowly across the Gulf of Mexico. Hospitals and nursing homes in low-lying areas of Texas are preparing to obey evacuation orders and move to higher ground. Faced with the possibility of a repeat of the tragedy experienced in New Orleans--where a number of patients died in intolerable conditions at hospitals and nursing homes after Katrina struck--many appear to be taking the threat much more seriously this time around.

In Brazoria county, which lies to the south of Houston, officials ordered a mandatory evacuation of exposed health care facilities, as the National Weather Service upgraded the storm to Category 4. In the island city of Galveston, which was virtually wiped out by a major storm in 1900, authorities ordered the evacuation of nursing homes and long-term-care facilities beginning at 6 AM.

- see this story from the Brazoria News   

PLUS:  Tenet Hospitals warns that damage to its hospitals from Katrina may seriously impact its financial outlook. Story

PLUS: Following the example of the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Houston Chronicle launched a blog to monitor the crisis which will provide breaking news coverage. Story