NEW YORK-There are few places in the U.S. where hospitals have put as much thought and money into disaster planning as New York. And yet two of the city's busiest, most important medical centers failed a fundamental test of readiness during Superstorm Sandy this week: They lost power.
Their backup generators failed, or proved inadequate. Nearly 1,000 patients had to be evacuated.
The closures led to dramatic scenes of doctors carrying patients down dark stairwells, nurses operating respirators by hand, and a bucket brigade of National Guard troops hauling fuel to rooftop generators in a vain attempt to keep the electricity on.
Both hospitals, NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital Center, were still trying to figure out exactly what led to the power failures Thursday, but the culprit appeared to be the most common type of flood damage there is: water in the basement.