National Public Radio carried an excellent report on "All Things Considered" about how the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston was able to evacuate ALL of its patients from John Sealy Hospital before Hurricane Ike struck.
Here are some great excerpts:
(Joan Richardson, MD, Chief of Emergency Preparedness, UTMB): "The evacuation went great. We evacuated well over 300 people, and it just so happened that about 51 of them were newborns, neonates from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and these are little bitty babies who were sick and had all kinds of life support systems to keep them going." Dr. Richardson: "You know, when you're transporting a 150 pound adult, you don't need the kind of specialized equipment that we need when we had these little babies. Many of those babies were on respirators. Many of those babies were on oxygen. They're all little bitty and so they need incubators to keep them warm, and so the transport of a neonate is a very specialized operation. And we're blessed that all kinds of people showed up to help us move those babies." (UTMB President David Callendar, MD): "No matter how well you prepare your facilities and your people are at risk, you do need to be prepared to evacuate all your patients. You need to be prepared to make that decision well in advance of the arrival of the storm. If you can't for some reason evacuate patients or you take patients during the storm, you're going to be operating under the most difficult circumstances. Some people might call it battlefield medicine conditions."