KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

NYU Hospital Loses Power And Evacuates 215 Patients During Storm

Industry officials described the failure of the backup generator at the Manhattan medical center as an unusual incident, not a warning of systemic flaws in hospital preparedness plans.

NPR: Superstorm Sandy Takes Toll On New York Hospitals
When a storm hits, people count on the local hospital to be ready — no matter what. But when Sandy slammed into New York City, one of Manhattan's biggest hospitals buckled. After the power went out in Lower Manhattan, New York University Langone Medical Center's backup power generators failed, too (Hensley, 10/30).

The New York Times: Patients Evacuated From City Medical Center After Power Failure
The medical center, NYU Langone Medical Center, a sprawling complex in the low 30s near the East River, began transporting all 215 patients at the hospital to other facilities on Monday evening, They were still being transported to other nearby hospitals, including Sloan Kettering and Mount Sinai, early on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the hospital said (Goodman and Moynihan, 10/30).

Politico Pro: Hospital Officials: Evacuation Not A Warning Sign
The failure of a backup power generator at a New York City hospital — forcing the evacuation of hundreds of patients during the ferocious peak of Hurricane Sandy — startled the medical world Tuesday morning. But hospital industry officials and experts suggest that the mid-storm evacuation by New York University's Langone Medical Center was an unusual incident, and not a warning of widespread flaws in disaster plans at hospitals around the country. … Marie Watteau, a spokeswoman for the American Hospital Association, said hospitals "proactively develop a hazard vulnerability analysis to identify potential vulnerabilities and to inform their emergency management planning." That analysis, she said, considers a disruption in the power supply (Cheney and Norman, 10/30).

Medpage Today: Storm Damage: When Patients Must Be Moved
As flood waters rose in lower Manhattan, backup generators at NYU Langone Medical Center failed -- an outage that shut down not just lights, but phones and email. The hospital, which rises alongside the East River at 1st Avenue and E. 33rd Street, had an inpatient census of 215 when the lights went out and the decision was made to evacuate all patients, according to news reports that quoted hospital spokesperson Lorinda Klein. The patients, carried or helped down from as high as the 17th floor, were transported to neighboring hospitals that included Mount Sinai and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. As of midday Tuesday MedPage Today's attempts to reach NYU officials were unsuccessful (Peck, 10/30).

ABC: Superstorm Sandy Tests Hospital Preparedness
When superstorm Sandy slammed into New York and New Jersey, it tested the emergency preparedness of hospitals housing some of the region's most vulnerable residents. Despite all the hospitals' preparations, the storm's high winds and flooding forced a handful of hospitals in New York and New Jersey to evacuate all patients, including those that were in critical condition. In New York City, NYU Langone Medical Center was forced to evacuate 300 patients after losing power in the historic storm. Among the evacuees were roughly 45 critical care patients and 20 babies, who were carefully carried down dark stairways as the 18-story hospital's elevators stood still (Moisse and Lupkin, 10/).

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