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Queens Hospital Works To Provide Care To Sick Children In Wake Of Sandy

St. Mary's Healthcare System Patient (credit: CBS 2)

St. Mary’s Healthcare System Patient (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children in Bayside is overcoming many obstacles to find and treat its patients in the wake of superstorm Sandy.

The hospital takes care of the area’s sickest children, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

“We take care of kids with cerebral palsy, with devastating conditions who have trach tubes so they are fed through their stomach,” said Chief Administrative Officer Hope Mavaro Iliceto.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports


Most of the hospital’s 4,000 patients are treated at their homes, but many have been displaced because of the storm, limiting their access to machines and medications.

Case Manager Connie Alamea said a 9-year-old boy whose family had to evacuate from their Far Rockaway home lost much of his equipment.

“They put things on top of the refrigerator such as his medication, his backpack with his hearing aids in it and water just tipped the fridge right over,” Alamea said.

Another family who relies on St. Mary’s said the storm has been hard to deal with.

“Everybody’s having a hard time but it’s particularly those with special needs. It’s a very, very, very difficult situation,” mother Jacqueline Tansey told CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu.

Tansey’s 12-year-old son has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair.

She said they are fortunate to be staying with friends while their power is out, but said not being at home has an added set of complications.

“The bathroom is not accessible so we have a very difficult time getting him to use the bathroom,” Tansey told Hsu. “We’ve had to give him just sponge baths, he hasn’t had a real cleaning in a week and a half.”

The medical staff is now struggling to get to the children to provide them with the care they need.

The hospital is having a hard time accessing gas for the medical staff traveling to patients and generators that run life-saving machines, Papa reported.

“A nurse or therapist rises at 2 a.m., sits on a gas line until 6, 6:30 in the morning, calls her manager in dismay that she ran out of gas because ten cars before her, the gas attendant tells her ‘that’s it, we’re done,’” Iliceto told Hsu.

Iliceto said all the patients are being helped but that it has been difficult for everyone involved.

To help, visit www.stmaryskids.org.