NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – NYU Langone Medical Center evacuated 300 patients, including 20 babies from neonatal intensive care unit Monday night, after a backup generator failed.
Some of the NICU patients were transported while attached to respirators operating on battery power.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports
“You know the elevators were down so we had people come in who are specialists in getting a slide down the stairs,” NYU Medical Center spokeswoman Allison Clair told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “We did see a lot of carrying downstairs but everybody was safely brought down, which was amazing. The highest floor that we came down from was the 17th floor.”
Patients had to be carefully carried down staircases and outside into the weather. Gusts of wind blew their blankets as nurses held IVs and other equipment.
An army of 50 to 70 ambulances lined up along 30th Street at First Avenue in front of the hospital.
Patients were taken to other hospitals including Mount Sinai, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Lenox and Bellevue.
Many of the waiting ambulances were contracted through FEMA to assist in the effort.
EMTs from as far away as Florida and Texas are in New York helping out.
“We packed up to be very busy for the next two weeks,” Miami EMT Miguel Suarez told Diamond. “I was here for 9/11 so, unfortunately, that was different but this, Mother Nature has done some work here.”
The power outage and generator failure may have cost NYU years of scientific research, according to reports.
A researcher told the New York Daily News that special enzymes, antibodies and DNA strands that need to be stored at very specific temperatures were likely destroyed.
Thousands of mice used for cancer research were also killed in the aftermath of Sandy. Sources told the Daily News that the mice are genetically modified for research and took years to produce
In a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Coney Island Hospital was also evacuated.