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New York hospital evacuates during storm

30th October 2012

Staff at a top hospital in New York worked through Monday night to evacuate patients after its back-up generator failed amid power outages caused by superstorm Sandy.

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Around 200 patients, including sick babies, were evacuated from the NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan.

The hospital suffered a power cut after 7pm on Monday amid the full onslaught of  superstorm Sandy, which pounded the city through the night, sparking power cuts, flooding and thousands of calls to emergency services.

Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, swamping New York. At least 12 people are believed to have died, as the storm ripped across the northeastern United States.

Adults, children and newborn babies in intensive care were transferred to a number of hospitals in the area, a spokeswoman said.

While some emergency power may have been available, staff said it was not enough to provide sufficient care for all patients.

The patients were put aboard a fleet of ambulances, which stood waiting on a darkened street on the East Side of Manhattan, bundled aboard on stretchers in the glare of emergency mobile lights.

An emergency generator followed the evacuation teams, who were ferried to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System and New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, hospital officials said.

Families of patients had been notified of the transfers, according to hospital spokeswoman Lisa Greiner.

Similar scenes occurred at a second New York hospital, Bellevue Hospital Center, as staff evacuated patients in the wake of a back-up power supply failure, according to a statement from the New York Fire Department.

Meanwhile, the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey was put on alert after floodwater rose 6 feet above sea level.

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg told a news conference at the city government's centre of emergency operations that a failure of the back-up power supply at the NYU hospital have prompted the emergency evacuation of patients there.

He said New York University's hospital technicians had repeatedly tested the back-up system, but that it had stopped anyway.

Several patients will now be housed in two postoperative surgical wards set aside for them by Mount Sinai, while Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center said it was ready to accept 26 patients from the NYU hospital.

NYU Langone Medical Center is one of the top hospitals in the US, boasting several Nobel Prize recipients among its alumni.

Both the school and hospital have a global reputation for cutting-edge medical research and patient care.

NYU Medical Dean Robert Grossman told a local television station: "We drill all the time for this kind of thing. But...this is the real thing."

 


 

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