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Letter to the editor: Managing care amid Sandy

Monday July 1, 2013
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Though our goal is always to be prepared when disaster strikes, it is rewarding when a disaster reveals how efficient and cohesive your preparation was for the event.

Hurricane Sandy has affected the East Coast immensely. NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital had major power failures during the storm. Lenox Hill Hospital responded to the evacuation of patients from those hospitals. Managing a disaster without losing focus on optimizing patient care was the biggest challenge at that time, but we prevailed.

To ensure adequate staffing, Lenox Hill gave out close to 300 sleeping bags to employees, and an adjacent church allowed employees to sleep there. Lenox Hill’s auditorium and cath lab were used as sleep bunkers for staff. Within days, the house census escalated to 106% capacity, and the OR was functioning on a seven-day-a-week schedule. With the high volume of patients, NYU Langone and Lenox Hill teamed up to supply additional staffing.

Lenox Hill and NYU Langone employees united to create a safe, comforting environment for patients. Nursing leaders collaborated with NYU Langone to ensure education was provided that met the standards of both hospitals. For a moment in time, the two hospitals became one. Superstorm Sandy brought about
unprecedented challenges, which were met by our unwavering determination to provide service excellence.

— Ankur Purani, RN, and Ashley Dorfman, RN, assistant nurse managers,
Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City



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