How Are Houston Hospitals Preparing for Rita?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," September 22, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Hospitals along the Gulf Coast rushing to evacuate patients ahead of Rita.

Joining me now on the phone is Dr. Thomas Burke from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

So, Dr. Burke, we heard a lot about getting people out of New Orleans. How does Houston compare?

DR. THOMAS BURKE, M.D. ANDERSON CANCER CENTER: Well, John, I think we are a very specialized hospital, because we take care of only cancer patients. So, we have had a strategy to really try to move only our easiest patients to move, those who were safe to discharge to the care of their families. Our sickest patients, we have intended to keep here on site. And we have been preparing throughout the week to provide care for those patients.

GIBSON: Well, how do you prepare when a Category 4 hurricane (search) is coming?

BURKE: Well, we have — our emergency plan calls for a storm ride-out team of about 1,800 individuals. That includes physicians, nurses, all of the support people who provide care for our facilities, food service, maintenance — those kinds of things.

They have been working around the clock since Monday to prepare. We have the team coming in essentially at 7:00 a.m. Friday planning to ride out the storm with our patients.

GIBSON: Dr. Burke, those kinds of plans fell apart in New Orleans (search). Why are you more confident about your plans?

BURKE: Well, I think we have — we have a great stockpile of equipment and facilities. We believe that we can last about five days with the resources we have on hand.

We also have pretty good confidence that the state and other resources will be able to get to us before we reach critical levels on those supplies.

GIBSON: Dr. Burke, the state told everybody in Houston (search) to get out, and they are now waiting in 14-hour traffic jams on the roads out of Houston. Are you really confident in your confidence?

BURKE: Yes. I think most of that is going to be resolved within the next 24 to 36 hours, as the additional highways open up.

Our ride-out teams had been home yesterday securing their own homes and families, and are really coming back in tonight and Friday morning to be ready for the storm.

GIBSON: Dr. Thomas Burke from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston — Doctor, thanks very much.

Content and Programming Copyright 2005 FOX News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, L.L.C.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.