While emergency funding from the city will help repair public hospitals damaged in the storm, officials acknowledged Monday it will be months before some of those hospitals are fully operational again. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
At Bellevue Hospital on Manhattan's East Side, hundreds of patients had to evacuated when Sandy hit. The facility essentially shuttered after floodwaters in the basement disabled the hospital’s backup generators.
Now, two weeks after the storm, both Bellevue and Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn are still not fully back up and running, and will not be until the new year.
"Full service for both of these hospitals, including their critical care units, their operating rooms, their in-patient units for Coney Island, we believe we can do that by the first week of January. For Bellevue, it is likely to be the first week of February," said Alan Aviles of the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation.
Another hospital, NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, was forced to evacuate 300 patients as the storm raged. Storm waters also knocked out its emergency power and caused damage NYU officials have estimated could run as high as a billion dollars, though damage is still being assessed.
Some damage will be covered by FEMA, which will also reimburse the city for some of the work at its public hospitals.
"At these hospitals, we need to repair or replace boiler systems, back-up generators, elevators and ventilation, air conditioning and electrical systems. And we also have to repair areas that were damaged by floodwaters," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The hospitals will reopen in stages… with Bellevue beginning outpatient services next Monday, and opening its emergency department by the end of the month, though that will require a special waiver.
"The emergency departments are more complicated to bring up," said Aviles. "At Bellevue, we will need state approval to bring up an emergency department that would run solely on emergency generator power for a period of time."
By Monday, there was no word yet on what kind of measures might be taken to avoid a repeat of this scene in the future.