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Working this weekend in NYC, in a hospital that took a few dozen NYU transfers, I wonder what took them so long? Why wait for the water to pour in the basement to shut down the hospitals?  (The Langone & Bellevue, the private & municipal hospitals, respectively)

By now, we've heard the stories of the bucket brigade carrying fuel to the rooftop generators at Bellevue, as well as neonates swaddled in blankets going down dark stairways. I don't have answers, but this is a scandal & needs to be investigated.  As I undestand it, NYU emptied out prior to Irene last year, but was unscathed. Their administration decided to stay open for Sandy. Why? Hubris? Sloth? Fear of lost evenue? Why were so many patients left at risk?

The NYU staff has been dedicated, even visiting patients in their new hospitals to personally review history with their new docs & nurses.  But what administrator had his head so far up his ass that he ignored the warnings?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Is this really the time to start second guessing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Omahan, BlackSheep1

    people who went through the storm?

    Everyone Chill the fuck out! I got this - unknown but credited to Barack Obama

    by natedogg265 on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 10:52:57 AM PDT

  •  Why didn't they have reliable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, Omahan

    ...standby generators?

  •  The backup generators were placed in the basement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, chimene

    No kidding.  And the thing is built on landfill.

    This has been a disaster in waiting for years.

    For those of you who prefer Bartlett to Obama, re-watch the West Wing. For those who prefer Clinton, re-watch old news videos.

    by Ptolemy on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 11:06:47 AM PDT

    •  Actually, the back up generators (3+ / 0-)

      were moved up to a high floor.  What couldn't be moved were the fuel pumps and tank -- those had already been fortified against flooding.

      Perhaps this is yet another indication of how bad our infrastructure is -- everywhere.  The trillions wasted on war could have gotten this country back to at least safe roads, bridges, schools, hospitals . . . .

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 11:25:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, the generators were on the upper floors, but (3+ / 0-)

      the fuel tanks and fuel pumps were in the basement. The generators failed when the fuel pumps flooded and could no longer deliver fuel to the electric generators.

      The quote below is from the Times Union on Nov. 1:

      While both hospitals put their generators on high floors where they could be protected in a flood, other critical components of the backup power system, such as fuel pumps and tanks, remained in basements just a block from the East River.

      Both hospitals had fortified that equipment against floods within the past few years, but the water — which rushed with tremendous force — found a way in.

      "This reveals to me that we have to be much more imaginative and detail-oriented in our planning to make sure hospitals are as resilient as they need to be," said Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

      My grandson was a preemie in the NICU unit at Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Houston Medical Center when Tropical Storm Allison hit in 2001. All the emergency backup generator equipment in that hospital was in the basement, and Allison produced so much rain that much of the Houston Medical Center was totally flooded, including water filling up to the top the entire basement level of Memorial Hermann completely knocking out the backup generator. The streets were too flooded for ordinary emergency evacuation vehicles (the National Guard eventually responded), so my grandson (along with the other preemies) were helicoptered from the LifeFlight pad on the roof of Memorial Hermann to another hospital that had not been flooded.

      Needless to say Memorial Hermann learned its lesson. Now all emergency power generators and associated equipment got relocated to new enclosures on the roof--only non-essential services are now in the basement, and those that do need some additional protection are enclosed within U.S. Navy standard watertight doors. You would think that with Houston being so flat and so close to sea level that people would think about the effects of tropical storm (or hurricane) flooding in downtown Houston. But it took a tropical storm of unprecedented rainfall (primarily because Allison stopped moving and hung over downtown Houston raining heavily for 48 hours before moving out of the region).

      So NYU Medical Center isn't the only hospital that didn't completely anticipate how bad could be the detailed aftereffects of a really severe storm. If they had talked to Memorial Hermann in Houston they might have learned some valuable lessons, before learning them the hard way. As the saying goes:

      "Some things are hard to do because they're hard to do. And some things are hard to do because you're doing it wrong."

      These are troubling times. Corporations are treated like people. People are treated like things. ... If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now. — Rev. Dr. William Barber, II to the NAACP, July 11, 2012

      by dewtx on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 11:48:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Uh, maybe it was because (7+ / 0-)

    Bloomberg wasn't Johnny on the Spot for issuing evacuation orders.    And . . .


    Mayor Michael Bloomberg had exempted hospitals and nursing homes in low-lying “Zone A” areas of the city from his pre-storm evacuation order. Much thought and planning had gone into the decision to “shelter in place.”

    The health commissioners for New York State and New York City are highly regarded, even beloved, hands-on leaders with substantial experience. City health commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley was working in New Orleans at Tulane University at the time of Hurricane Katrina. New York State’s commissioner of health, Dr. Shah, based himself with the team at New York City’s emergency operations center.

    I recommend everyone read the entire, balanced article by Dr. Sherry Fink who has researched hospital safety issues for years and writes for one of the most respected sources of investigative journalism, ProPublica.

    Vulnerabilities of fragile patients are part of the equation re: pre-storm evacuations.

    Amazing slam on folks who worked around the clock with many uncertainties and shitass for a Mayor.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 11:18:35 AM PDT

  •  Heard accusations go both ways (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OIL GUY, indubitably, Joy of Fishes

    I work in Langone. We were lucky that our building didn't lose power so our lab stocks survived. Unlike most labs.

    I am hearing from Langone administrators that they were told by the city ahead of the hurricane they didn't need to evacuate. Maybe because there was a sense that it wasn't necessary during Irene. I am also hearing that the Langone knew that their backup generators were vulnerable but hadn't replaced them yet. So it sounds like blame might go both ways. Or at least ass covering may be going both ways.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 12:26:54 PM PDT

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