New York City hospitals that evacuated hundreds of patients ahead of Hurricane Irene began to assess the damage after the storm's winds and rains resulted in disrupted power and flooding across the city. As of 10 a.m., officials reported no significant damage to the two-campus Staten Island University Hospital, though heavy rain did cause some leaks, spokesman Christen Preston said. The hospitals' healthcare information systems, which were shut down to prevent damage from possible power surges, were expected to remain down for a few hours after the storm passed on Sunday amid the continued threat of downed tree limbs, he said. Employees were scheduled to return to the hospital at 7 a.m. Monday and would be briefed on patients' return.
New York hospitals begin assessing Irene damage
A spokeswoman for the Veterans Administration New York Harbor Healthcare System said police and environmental services staff remained at the system's Manhattan Medical Center throughout the weekend, but she said she had no information on possible damage. NYU Langone Medical Center said in an e-mail statement that it had begun a damage assessment. "Once the assessment is complete, a decision will be made as to when the hospital will reopen," the statement noted.
New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., which evacuated its Coney Island Hospital in advance of Irene, emerged from the storm with leaks but no significant damage, a spokeswoman said in an e-mail. "All of our facilities have maintained full power and none have had to resort to emergency generators," HHC spokeswoman Evelyn Hernandez said.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking on Sunday, said, "All in all, we are in pretty good shape." However, the city did not escape serious consequences of the storm, included flooding, downed trees and power outages. "We don't know the full extent of damage caused by the Category 1 storm," Bloomberg said, adding that the evacuation order would be lifted midafternoon on Sunday but that time would be required before hospitals, nursing homes and other vacated facilities could return to normal operations.
New Jersey Commissioner of Health and Senior Services said Palisades Medical Center and Hoboken University Medical Center were among 25 healthcare facilities that evacuated patients ahead of the storm. Pennsylvania ambulances assisted with New Jersey evacuations, she said. Commissioner Mary O'Dowd said hospitals that lost power during the storm successfully transfered to backup power. Hospitals continue to assess damage from flooding and further evacuations may follow. "This is an ongoing response," she said. "This is not over. We will continue to monitor conditions on the ground."
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