Hospitals Face Hurricane Sandy Power Outages, Failed Generators

Karen Cheung-Larivee | FierceHealthcare | October 30, 2012

With the brunt of Hurricane Sandy hitting the East Coast Monday night, hospitals carried out their contingency plans to handle evacuations and power outages. Even with preparation, back-up systems failed at NYU Langone Medical Center last night, forcing the evacuation of all 215 patients to nearby hospitals, including Sloan Kettering and Mount Sinai, The New York Times reported. There were large-scale power failures in critical areas, including the emergency department, the transplant unit and labor and delivery.

The hospital's basement, lower floors and elevator shafts filled with 10 to 12 feet of water Monday night, Andrew Brotman, senior vice president and vice dean for clinical affairs and strategy, told CNN. "Things went downhill very, very rapidly and very unexpectedly," Brotman said about the unprecedented heavy flooding.

Some 1,000 staff members--doctors, nurses, residents and medical students--along with firefighters and police officers evacuated patients, CNN reported. Although 10 percent of the backup power was working, most evacuations were conducted by flashlight. Staff members even carried four newborns who were on respirators down nine flights of stairs, manually squeezing air into the babies' lungs, according to CNN...