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
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…