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Hurricane Irene warrants hospital, nursing home evacuations

Friday August 26, 2011
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An executive order given Aug. 25 by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for the evacuation of residents in the city's low-lying "Zone A" areas in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Irene. It also required all senior centers, nursing homes and hospitals in those areas to evacuate their patients by 8 p.m. Aug. 26. The order included the removal of patients from Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, the VA Medical Center in Manhattan, the North and South campuses of Staten Island (N.Y.) University Hospital and NYU Medical Center on Manhattan's Upper East Side, as well as eight adult care centers, eight nursing homes and one psychiatric center.

During a televised news conference Aug. 26, the mayor reported all facilities have either fully completed the transfers of patients or are in the process. "No exceptions were made, and nobody even asked for exceptions," Bloomberg said. Facilities either made their own arrangements regarding transfer or used city-provided ambulances, he said.

In compliance with the order, approximately 250 patients were transferred by ambulance Aug. 26 from Coney Island Hospital, a New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation hospital.

Ambulettes and buses also were used to evacuate Staten Island University Hospital. About 230 patients from its North campus and 130 from its South campus were moved to mostly North Shore Health System facilities, according to the hospital's website.

Those patients included babies in the hospital's neonatal ICU. "We received 12 NICU patients from both campuses of SIUH," said North Shore Health System public relations representative Michelle Pinco. "There were also five babies transferred in from Southside Hospital."

Southside Hospital is in Bay Shore, N.Y., a community that is along the Great South Bay waterway and, like other coastal towns on Long Island, may be subject to floods from the Category 2 storm.


Tracey Boyd is a regional reporter. Send letters to editor@nurse.com or post a comment below.
NYC hurricane evacuation zones

Residents in Zone A face the highest risk of flooding from a hurricane's storm surge. Zone A includes all low-lying coastal areas and other areas that could experience storm surge from any hurricane making landfall close to New York City.

Source: http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/hazards/storms_evaczones.shtml