Two hospitals in the Austin area are reporting water outages Wednesday amid massive power outages and frigid winter storms in the state. St. David’s South Austin Medical Center lost water pressure late Wednesday, and its boiler failed as a consequence, cutting the heat. One nurse told KVUE that signs instructed staff to refrain from putting toilet paper in the toilets and to deposit human waste in biohazard bags. Residents of several Texas cities, including Austin and San Antonio, are under notices from municipal authorities to boil their drinking water as of Wednesday.
The hospital said in a statement on Wednesday that it was “distributing bottles and jugs of water for patients and employees to drink and wash their hands,” and was attempting to discharge or move patients to other hospitals, though the hospital’s CEO said several area hospitals were dealing with similar issues. The 300-patient St. David’s was also working to get portable toilets. Ascension Seton, another Austin hospital, also reported “intermittent water issues” and was rescheduling any elective surgeries, its parent company said in a statement. More than 20 people have died across the country due to the freezing conditions over the past week.