Main Langone hospital reopens post-Sandy

January 3, 2013

The New Year marks a week into NYU Langone Medical Center’s official reopening of many of Tisch Hospital’s inpatient services on NYU Langone’s main campus, including surgery and radiology. Two months into the post-Hurricane Sandy recovery period, Langone’s recuperation has been smooth.

According to spokesperson Lisa Greiner, Langone students and staff worked around the clock to meet their recovery goals.

“Planning for NYU Langone’s reopening began immediately after the storm ended, and thousands of individuals and dozens of departments worked day and night for the past two months to make reopening possible,” she said. “The tremendous efforts of our faculty, staff and students to get the hospital back up and running exemplifies the unstoppable spirit of NYU Langone.”

Since Dec. 27, Langone’s main hospital has reopened both inpatient and outpatient surgery, including non-invasive cardiovascular surgery and neurosurgery. Other services  include interventional radiology as well as electrophysiology, which treats problems related to the heart’s electrical system.

In the face of massive flooding and over $1 billion worth of damages to facilities within the medical center, Langone is turning to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for aid. So far, the agency has approved approximately $150 million in aid for the medical center.
In spite of the steep challenges, the restoration schedule marches on, meeting unwavering deadlines since the timeline set by the medical center staff.

Superstorm Sandy’s power outage and flooding was the first time the medical center faced such severe damage and interruption to regular service, and the recovery has also been a new process for hospital staff members.

“This recovery is unprecedented,” Greiner said. “With Hurricane Irene, the medical center sustained only minor facility damage,” she added. The hospital was able to open within a few days after Irene, which hit New York City in late August 2011.

Although most of Langone’s services are in the process of returning to Langone in the coming months, one of the areas that has suffered more lasting damage in the aftermath of Sandy is the hospital’s emergency department, which was particularly vulnerable during the storm because it was in the initial stages of planned expansion.

In place of the Emergency Department, the hospital opened a temporary Urgency Care Center. Meanwhile, according to Andrew Brotman, senior vice president and vice dean for clinical affairs and strategy, the permanent Emergency Department is expected to delay its reopening for about 11 months. This delay is partly due to a planned increase in the department’s capacity from 43,000 to 65,000.

The new care center is located on the first floor of the hospital and also contains 31 bays and is located on the 16th floor. Although it is not currently able to accept patients via ambulances, once the hospital demonstrates sufficient safety networks, it may be able to in the future.

Given the scale and financial cost of the damages, the medical center’s relatively fast-track to recovery has earned the praise of New York state’s representatives.
“The quick turnaround is a testament to the dedication of the NYU board, executives and staff, and shows the tough stuff New Yorkers are made of,” New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Dec. 27.

“The reopening of NYU Langone Medical Center, a driving force in New York’s economy, marks a milestone in the recovery process and means that tens of thousands of New Yorkers can return to the work they love,” Schumer added.

While Tisch Hospital’s surgeons and other inpatient staff could not resume their posts for two months, they were not out of work. Instead, they were deployed to many other facilities in the greater New York City area at hospitals such as Beth Israel Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, Lenox Hill hospital, among others. But, as Brotman stated, the  staff has been eager to return to their daily routines at Langone.

“Everyone is anxious to get ‘home’ and return to some semblance of normalcy,” Brotman said. “Our folks worked every Saturday and Sunday when the other hospitals had available operating room time, and we look forward to an environment of predictability where we can again manage the whole environment in order to provide quality care for our patients.”

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