The Great Flood, part 3

January 10, 2012 10:21:31 AM PST
"People went home and cried," said Kevin Edwards with Methodist Hospital. "It was devastating"

Tropical Storm Allison made lots of people cry. Dr. Pan Narayana was dealt a double blow. His lab with his research MRI flooded and his computers which had been temporarily moved there for construction, flooded, too.

"Over 50 computers all gone," he said.

Twenty years of his work was washed away.

"I'm a scientist I'm used to frustrations and I don't give up easily," said Narayana.

Ten years later, the UT Health researcher has a replacement MRI lab that's better than the one he lost. UT's trashed anatomy lab was redesigned. It too is state of the art.

"It is one of those bittersweet memories, better in the sense recognizing how bad things were, but our facility really improved over what we had," said Dr. Len Cleary with UT Health.

It's the same at Baylor College of Medicine. When its four flooded buildings were rebuilt, improved was improved or expanded. Three wet electron microscopes were replaced by four new ones. The new facility for research animals is state of the art, too.

Freezers were moved to higher floors and many freezers now don't even need electricity!

"We're storing them in liquid nitrogen freezers on this floor," said Dr. Kent Osborne with Baylor College of Medicine.

And submarine doors are everywhere, this one's at Methodist. Here are flood doors at Baylor.

Dr. Narayana shows us UT's flood gate. Memorial Hermann hospital vows to never close again. It permanently closed the tunnels where water came in and began to sweep through the Med Center. All electrical equipment moved higher.

"We've raised it up 20 feet, so it's way above the 500 year flood plain," said Marshall Heins with Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Now Memorial Hermann to be a hospital that's like a beach house on stilts. If the lower level floods, they say the upper floors will keep on going.

Can the Med Center flood again? Absolutely. But will hospitals close and important medical research be flooded again? People here say no. With the improvements made in the past decade, people here believe they're ready to withstand what may come