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NYU Langone Medical Center Reopens Weeks After Flooding

NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan - Dec. 27, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan – Dec. 27, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Nearly two months after superstorm Sandy flooded it and forced an emergency evacuation, NYU Langone Medical Center has reopened.

WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond On The Story

Sandy’s 14-foot storm surge inundated the medical center with 15 million gallons of water and knocked out backup generators, triggering a crisis for staff and patients.

“The extent of our damage was incredible,” hospital CEO Dr. Robert Grossman said.

The storm destroyed some high-tech medical equipment and years of research.

But 59 days later, Tisch Hospital is again treating patients, with several surgeries already scheduled.

“In those early days, the assumption was ‘they won’t be open for months, maybe for years,’” hospital chairman of the board Ken Langone, for whom the hospital is named, told reporters.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

The emergency room remains closed as repairs are made.

Sen. Charles Schumer helped secure $149.5 million in FEMA dollars for the hospital to rebuild and recover from the storm.

“And what has happened is a metaphor for all of New York and New Jersey amid Sandy – we will come back, we will rebuild, and we’ll be better than before,” Schumer said.

The full extent of the damage is estimated to be $1 billion. Schumer said he will work to ensure federal assistance continues to flow in to the city and state.

“We will not let those naysayers stand in the way in terms of getting the aid that we have given every other part of the country when they’ve had disasters,” Schumer said.

Staff evacuated 300 patients during the heart of the storm, using temporary lighting to bring patients down stairways to ambulances waiting to transport them to other facilities.

“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,” said Langone spokeswoman Allison Clair on the day after the storm. “The elevators were down. So, we had people come in who were specialists in getting, like, a slide down the stairs.”