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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hurricane Aftermath
Area hospitals provide relief during, after storm
Herald file photo
Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow took on extra patients in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Days after the Hurricane Sandy tore through Long Island, its effects were still being felt, from long gas lines to thousands without power, and people’s day-to-day lives were changed.

The damage caused by Sandy could be seen across Long Island and in its aftermath, those who could help in some capacity were asked to do so, including Nassau County’s hospitals.

Both Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow and Franklin Hospital in North Valley Stream took in patients from nearby hospitals that were evacuated leading up to the storm.

Long Beach Medical Center, which was evacuated and is now closed due to sustained damage, sent 57 patients to NUMC. On Nov. 3, NUMC reported it had 541 patients admitted, more than normal, with as many as 50 patients waiting for beds in the Emergency Department.

“We are just now starting to get hit in our Emergency Department with an influx of Long Beach residents recovered by FEMA and the National Guard,” said Arthur A. Gianelli, president and CEO of the NuHealth System, which operates four health centers including NUMC, on Nov. 3.

Although Franklin Hospital has flooded in the past, said Terry Lynam, the vice president of public relations for North Shore-LIJ, it did not sustain any water or wind damage. Also, Franklin only needed its backup generator briefly during the storm as its power was quickly restored. Because it was fully operational, Franklin was able to take in patients from Coney Island Hospital and nearby nursing homes that were evacuated.

“Leading up to the storm, we discharged as many non-acute patients as possible,” Lynam said, noting that an effort was made to have room for the expected influx of patients once Sandy hit.

All of North Shore-LIJ’s hospitals were staffed at “150 percent” in preparation of the storm, Lynam said. “Those employees who came to work last Monday morning were going to be in place until Wednesday,” he said. “They were advised the week before to bring changes of clothes, any personal items they need, medications.” North Shore-LIJ supplied its staff with beds, food and water to accommodate them during that time.

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