Hospital staff completes evacuation of patients during storm
NEW YORK - An official at a New York City hospital says, "Everyone here is a hero."
Dr. Bernard Birnbaum, senior vice president at Tisch Hospital, today thanked crews who had worked through the night, evacuating nearly 300 patients floor-by-floor from one of the city's top hospitals after it lost generator power at the height of superstorm Sandy. It's part of the NYU Medical Center.
Rescuers and staff made as many as 10 to 15 trips down darkened stairwells, evacuating the youngest and the sickest first. They finished about 15 hours later.
Among the first to be brought out were 20 babies in neonatal intensive care. Some were on battery-powered respirators.
The patients were taken to other hospitals in the city -- the ones that remained open. Other hospitals canceled outpatient appointments and elective surgeries, and some closed.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and officials at NYU were exchanging blame for last night's crisis. Bloomberg said hospital officials had assured the city that they had working backup power. A hospital spokeswoman says the city told the hospital to evacuate its patients in advance of Hurricane Irene last year -- but issued no such instruction this year.