KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Dark, Hurried Evacuation For One NY City Hospital Though Most Health Care Companies Prepped For Hurricane Fallout

While most hospitals prepped for the storm, there were some problems in New York City.

ABC News: Backup Generator Fails; NYU Medical Center Evacuated
Paramedics and other medical workers began to evacuate patients from New York University Langone Medical Center due to a power outage caused by Tropical Storm Sandy, followed by a failure of backup generators at the hospital, New York City officials said Monday night. About 200 patients, roughly 45 of whom are critical care patients, were moved out of NYU via private ambulance with the assistance of the New York Fire Department, city officials said.  (Esposito and Childs, 10/30).

CNN: NY Hospital Staff Carry Sick Babies Down 9 Flights Of Stairs During Evacuation
At times with only flashlights to illuminate the way, NYU Langone Medical Center began evacuating some 260 patients, carrying some of them down 15 flights of stairs to awaiting ambulances ready to take them to the safety of other hospitals. NYU didn't anticipate such heavy flooding from Sandy, the superstorm that hit Monday, and chose not to evacuate all its patients before the storm, as it did with Hurricane Irene a year ago. But between 7 and 7:45 p.m. Monday, the hospital's basement, lower floors, and elevator shafts filled with 10 to 12 feet of water and the hospital lost its power (Cohen, 10/30).

The New York Times: Patients Evacuated From City Medical Center After Power Failure
In southern Brooklyn, Coney Island Hospital also saw its backup power systems fail on Monday, said the city’s Office of Emergency Management, but there were no evacuations. Critical patients had been evacuated on Friday during storm preparations and the 209 remaining patients would be re-evaluated in the morning, the office said. The trouble at NYU Langone began Monday evening as hospital officials began to detail in e-mails the spread of large-scale power failures in critical areas, including the emergency room, the transplant unit and labor and delivery. The emergency systems did not kick in, the hospital said (Goodman and Moynihan, 10/30).

ABC News: Hospitals Evacuate Ahead Of Hurricane Sandy
Ambulances lined the streets of Hoboken, N.J. in the relative calm before Hurricane Sandy last night as Hoboken University Medical Center evacuated patients in the predawn darkness. Hospitals along the east coast are preparing for the worst, which means postponing elective surgeries, stocking up on supplies, ensuring that backup power generators are ready to go, and, in some cases, evacuating patients (Lupkin, 10/29).

Fox News Business: Health-Care Companies Along East Coast Shut Down Offices
Some of the world's largest health-care companies, many of them based along the East Coast or with major operations there, closed sites and asked employees to work from home Monday as they braced for the approach of Hurricane Sandy. GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) has closed about a dozen sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts. Essential personnel may be asked to report to some sites, the U.K.-based company said. ... The storm hasn't had any effect on distribution of medicines at this point, Glaxo spokeswoman Sarah Alspach said (10/29).

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