Federal regulations require that hospitals prepare for emergencies including natural disasters. The strength of Superstorm Sandy and the population density of the affected areas placed high demands on hospitals and related services. Prior studies by the Office of Inspector General found substantial challenges in health care facility emergency preparedness and response. In a 2006 study, we found that many nursing homes had insufficient emergency plans or did not follow their plans. In a 2012 followup study, we found that gaps continued to exist in nursing home emergency preparedness and response.
Six months after Hurricane Sandy, Brooklyn’s Coney Island Hospital is up and running, but there’s still a lot of work left to do.
Six months after Hurricane Sandy forced Coney Island Hospital to evacuate 260 patients, the institution is still recovering and it could take another 12 months until it’s fully restored.
The in-patient pediatric wing is still down and the MRI/Catscan room is under construction, forcing them to use mobile units outside. Workers are trying to strike a careful balance between providing needed services, rebuilding, and keeping areas near active construction zones clean.
Coney Island is offering about two-thirds of its pre-Sandy services. Executive Director Richard Wagner credits his staff of more than 2,800.
11/5/2012: The two commodities we need most in a disaster in order to continue operating is electricity and water. Water is a basic need that sustains life and in other applications cooling for computers or people. In hospitals it is a basic need to eliminate the possibility of infection and just plain old sanitation.
Sandy has pointed out how when a disaster hits an urban area what happens when the water and electricity stop flowing. Several hospitals closed. One for power and the other for a lack of water. I’m also just guessing the availability of staff was also an issue since the “normal” commute was out the window. My nephew who works in Manhattan and lives in the Brooklyn took a taxi to get to work in the morning, a journey that took three hours. To get home he waited for a bus and then ended up walking home, which took four hours…