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Storm forces evacuation of hundreds of New York hospital patients

October 30, 2012|By Cindy Carcamo

Six New York City hospitals were forced to evacuate hundreds of patients — including newborns cuddled in the arms of nurses — after losing power at the height of Hurricane Sandy, according to New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and news reports.

“We’ve had significant challenges at many of our hospitals and healthcare facilities,” Bloomberg said Tuesday. “Fortunately, as of now, there have not been any storm-related fatalities in any of them.”

New York University Medical Center and Coney Island Hospital continued evacuations Tuesday, New York state Sen. Jose Peralta said in a statement. Officials at Bellevue Hospital, which lost power Monday night but remains open, monitored the hospital's energy needs while it runs on backup power, he said.

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New York City officials are coordinating with 53 healthcare facilities about water levels, staffing and structural issues, Peralta said.

New York Downtown Hospital and the Manhattan Veterans Affairs Hospital closed Monday night, Bloomberg said. NYU Langone Medical Center hospitals, including Tisch Hospital, were evacuated.

Tisch Hospital staff and most of its 200 patients were evacuated after a backup generator failed, the Associated Press reported. The process began Monday night after New York went dark in the storm. An explosion at an electrical substation cut hospital power.

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In delicate ambulance transports, patients were taken to hospitals including Mount Sinai, Lenox Hill, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Bellevue, the Associated Press reported.

The sickest and youngest patients were evacuated first — some holding on to respirators operating on batteries.

Nurses and hospital staff embraced their blanket-covered patients, holding their IVs and other medical equipment as they evacuated, the Associated Press reported.

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At Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, officials decided to evacuate the facility Tuesday morning when it was operating on a backup generator, Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., told ModernHealthCare.com. The company owns the hospital.

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