‘They Can Count on Us’: Houston VA Hospital Withstands Harvey, Prepares for Aftermath

WASHINGTON — When Hurricane Harvey lashed southeast Texas on Friday and brought punishing rain and devastating floods for days afterward, the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in downtown Houston remained open, operated by about 700 staff members who made the facility their temporary home.

Hospital staff members were sleeping on floors or small cots in their offices or in a small auditorium, Dr. SreyRam Kuy, the associate chief of staff at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, described Wednesday in a post on the VA’s website. Some of them weren’t certain if their homes were flooded, while others saw news footage of their neighborhoods under water.

They stayed to care for about 400 veterans who remained at the hospital, which is also serving as a shelter for homeless veterans and others.

One former U.S. Army Ranger swam through flood waters to reach the hospital Tuesday, where he was treated for a burst appendix, The Associated Press reported.

“He knew that no matter what, the VA would be there to care for him,” Kuy wrote about the veteran. “It’s humbling to know that [veterans] feel they can count on us to be there.”

To read the full August 31, 2017 article from Stars and Stripes, click here.