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Absorbing Citywide Patient Surge During Hurricane Sandy: A Case Study in Accommodating Multiple Hospital Evacuations
Ann Emerg Med 2014;64(1):66-73
January 13, 2014
From October 22 to 31, 2012, Hurricane Sandy affected 14 US states and Washington, DC, causing particularly severe damage in New York and New Jersey. It was the second costliest hurricane in US history and caused 43 deaths in New York City and tens of thousands of injuries. When Sandy hit New York City on October 29, 2012, the flooding and power outages led to the evacuation of residents, hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. New York City hospitals and various government agencies evacuated approximately 6,300 patients from 37 health care facilities. . . . Despite robust preparedness efforts, the severity of Sandy caught New York City hospitals by surprise because major hospital evacuations were not anticipated. Widespread power outages forced hospitals to rely on backup generators, which subsequently failed because of flooding. When health care facilities evacuated, neighboring institutions received the displaced patients. . . . We sought to use a structured, narrative-based approach to describe the effect Hurricane Sandy hospital evacuees had on hospitals and the strategies that facilitated their response.
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