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Hoboken University Medical Center reopens


By Melanie Evans
Posted: November 13, 2012 - 8:00 am ET
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Hoboken (N.J.) University Medical Center, which evacuated patients before superstorm Sandy made landfall two weeks ago, reopened last night even as repairs continued to the flood-damaged lower levels.

Paul Walker, president and CEO of the 364-bed medical center, said the hospital would operate all services on the second through seventh floors while contractors gut and replace damaged walls and floors below. Elevators near the lobby and the emergency room would be accessible to patients.

Walker, in an interview hours before the hospital reopened, said Hoboken University Medical Center's operations would resume after the arrival of a portable CT scanner needed to reopen the emergency room. The hospitals CT scanner, MRI and other imaging equipment was destroyed by flooding, he said.

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The hospital is the fourth to reopen after the storm caused nine New York and New Jersey hospitals to evacuate. The 176-bed Palisades Medical Center, North Bergen, N.J.: 128-bed New York (N.Y.) Downtown Hospital and the 90-bed Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenpoint, N.Y., have reopened.

Bellevue Hospital Center, Coney Island Hospital, Long Beach (N.Y.) Medical Center and NYU Langone Medical Center remain closed from the storm. The New York Harbor Healthcare System's Manhattan hospital has not yet reopened, according to its website.

Coney Island Hospital is expected to remain closed for inpatient services until early January and Bellevue will begin accepting admissions in early February, said Alan Aviles, president and CEO of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., which owns both hospitals.

Hoboken University Medical Center began to discharge or transfer patients a day before the storm reached New Jersey's coast. One patient who walked into the hospital's emergency room as the storm approached remained in the hospital with nurses and doctors as flood waters cut off the hospital for a day and a half, Walker said. The patient, who was suffering from breathing problems, returned home once the waters receded, he said.

Flood waters outside the hospital reached 3 feet to 4 feet, but water also flooded the hospital through its drains and toilets, he said. As repair continues, services typically located on the first floor or in the hospital's family health center have been relocated temporarily throughout the hospital.


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