Evacuated Hospital Patients Find Beds Throughout City

Hospital workers evacuate a patient from NYU Langone Medical Center on Oct. 29 in New York City Photograph by Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Sixty-three patients from the NYU Langone Medical Center were transferred to St. Luke’s Hospital in Morningside Heights, some as early at Sunday night—before Sandy hit and before the medical center’s backup generators failed. “It’s going OK,” says Elizabeth Dowling, assistant director of public affairs for St. Luke’s, of the hospital’s ability to absorb the extra patients. “We took in everyone, from complicated cardiac care to neurology patients, and the transfer went smoothly. But we’re working with a very limited crew so we don’t have the capacity that we’d like to have.”

“NYU knew it was in the flood zone so they’d started to evacuate as early as possible, they had ambulances lined up there as early as Sunday night,” says Dr. William Weiss, a private psychiatrist who is also a faculty member at NYU. He was at St. Luke’s to visit two of his patients who’d been moved out of the medical center’s psychiatric unit on 30th Street. “At least Bellevue Hospital is on a raised foundation so it’s OK,” he said, mulling the home of the city’s well-known psych center. “Can you imagine what it would be like to try to evacuate Bellevue?”

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