FEDERAL help offered for storm damage at Texas hospitals

Saturday, July 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP)_ Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said Friday his agency will help a large medical complex replace equipment and research destroyed by Tropical Storm Allison.

Floods caused about $2 billion in damage last month to hospitals and medical schools in the heart of the Texas Medical Center. Power outages forced one hospital to transfer its patients.

``Although the floodwaters have receded, and thank God for that, the pain remains,'' Thompson said after touring basements of three facilities.

Thompson said the National Institutes of Health will supplement funding from his agency this year to replace damaged or lost research equipment, such as an expensive electron microscope at Baylor College of Medicine.

Memorial Hermann Hospital, one of the city's two top trauma centers, was the hardest hit of nine hospitals that fully or partially closed when Allison's rains flooded basements and first floors in the early-morning hours of June 9.

Other hospitals are either fully or partially open, but Hermann is still closed. It will begin reopening July 17.

Baylor sustained up to $600 million in losses, including more than 30,000 laboratory mice and rats and countless tissue and cell samples used for research.