NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital has resumed 24-hour non-emergency walk-in care, three weeks after Sandy forced the evacuation of the public hospital.
Bellevue also announced it will offer limited outpatient primary care clinics for children and adults, in addition to routine OB-GYN services. Those services will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, the hospital announced.
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The emergency room is expected to be ready for limited services in about a month, according to the hospital.
Full hospital operations are not expected until February.
“It was only a few weeks ago that this historic public hospital suffered devastating damage from a monster storm that required the evacuation of all patients. For the first time in 275 years of serving its community, Bellevue was forced to close. Today, our doors are once again open 24/7 while we continue the slow but certain road toward recovery with a shared sense of purpose focused, as always, on our commitment to our patients and the community we serve,” New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation President Alan Aviles said in a release.
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Bellevue, located on First Avenue, had been running on generator power, with National Guard troops helping to refuel the generators. But it was determined the backup power was not sufficient to keep the hospital running.
“We saw our last patient leave here and I thought we were all going to crumble,” Bellevue Hospital executive director Lynda Curtis said at the reopening on Monday.
The hospital’s basement took on about 17 million gallons of water in the storm surge from superstorm Sandy, knocking out all but one of the generators.
“Extensive damage to the electrical, heating, domestic water, ventilation,” Aviles said on Monday.
The flooding left the hospital campus with dark rooms and hallways, no working hallways, no working elevators, and no ability to use necessary medical equipment.
“That damage was so extensive that we will be unable to adequately power this building – even with additional external emergency generators – for quite some time,” Aviles said last month.
About 700 patients had to be evacuated from Bellevue when all but one of the hospital’s generators failed.
Before the Bellevue evacuation, New York University Langone Medical Center evacuated 300 patients after it lost generator power due to the storm. The hospitals are near each other on First Avenue in Kips Bay.
The city-owned Coney Island Hospital also had to be evacuated because of damage from Sandy. It is partially reopened and due to be fully operational by January, Aviles said.
Last week, Mayor Bloomberg, working with the City Council, allocated an additional $300 million in emergency restoration capital funds to help the city’s hospitals rebuild and recover from Sandy.
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