NYU Hospital Knew Generators Subpar Before Storm, Cohn Says

New York University Hospital’s board of directors knew that generators at NYU Langone Medical Center were outdated and at risk before their failure during Hurricane Sandy forced patients to evacuate, said Gary Cohn, a trustee.

The facility’s backup generators “are not state-of-the-art and not in the most state-of-the-art location,” Cohn, who is also president of New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

“That is all very well-known by the board of directors of NYU and in fact we are undergoing a $3 billion renovation of the entire hospital facility to completely modernize it to ensure we would have backup power forever,” he said.

The Lower Manhattan hospital began evacuating patients to other medical facilities late yesterday after the storm interrupted power and the backup system failed. Evacuations continued today.

“The one thing we had not counted on, New York University’s hospital backup power, in spite of them ensuring us that it’s been tested, stopped working, and we’re working with them to help move people out,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday at a news conference.

The mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.

“I am very concerned; a hospital the size and importance of NYU is a mainstay of New York City,” Cohn said. “When you are going through a natural disaster, obviously medical care is a crucial component.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harper in New York at charper@bloomberg.net; Erik Schatzker in New York at eschatzker@bloomberg.net; Stephanie Ruhle in New York at sruhle2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net

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