10/30/2012 02:28 pm ET Updated Oct 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Closes Some Hospitals In New York And New Jersey, But Safety Net Mostly Holds

A handful of hospitals in New York and New Jersey closed and evacuated patients, while others are operating solely on backup generators, but most hospitals in states hit by Hurricane Sandy remain open with the worst of the storm over.

Despite flooding, electrical outages and impassable roads, most hospitals continued to treat patients Tuesday. In East Coast states where the storm inflicted less damage, hospitals have been operating almost normally, apart from those without primary power.

Hospitals, in coordination with government agencies, carried out their emergency preparedness plans, as doctors, nurses and other personnel made temporary homes of their workplaces. Federal disaster agencies also assisted, delivering 350 ambulances to New York City and 100 medical personnel to New Jersey, Gretchen Michael, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services told HuffPost in an email.

In New York City, flooding, power loss and failed generators forced the New York University Langone Medical Center to relocate more than 200 patients, including cancer patients and 20 infants from the neonatal intensive care unit, to nearby hospitals Monday night. Tuesday morning, Brooklyn's Coney Island Hospital relocated about 180 patients after a blackout Monday and being down to a single generator Tuesday morning, according to Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.

"We've had significant challenges at many of our hospitals and health care facilities," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference Tuesday. "Fortunately, as of now there has been no storm-related fatalities at any them." Two other Manhattan hospitals, New York Downtown Hospital and the Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Healthcare System, emptied their beds before the storm hit.

The New York State Department of Health was still assessing the condition of hospitals outside the city Tuesday morning, said spokesman Jeffrey Hammond.

One New Jersey hospital, the Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, had to find beds for 83 patients because of the storm, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services spokeswoman Donna Leusner told HuffPost. The Hoboken University Medical Center shut down Sunday night and relocated 131 patients, she said. About 100 New Jersey hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are running solely on generators, she said.

As in other locales, New Jersey facilities, including Valley Hospital in Ridgewood and Camden's Cooper Hospital and Lourdes Hospital, preemptively cut back on nonessential services such as elective surgeries and outpatient treatments. Hospitals across the region hit by Sandy, including the NYU hospital, took other advance steps, such as moving fragile patients before the storm began

All of Pennsylvania's hospitals are open, but facilities -- especially in the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley areas -- face electrical outages and some are relying on backup power, said Penny Kline, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency reports no closures or evacuations of any hospitals or nursing homes in the state, said Ed McDonough, a spokesman. McCready Memorial Hospital in Crisfield on the state's Eastern Shore isn't taking any additional patients because it's down to backup power, he said. Floodwaters found their way onto the first floor of another Eastern Shore facility, Dorchester General Hospital, but patients are safe, he said. Tidal flooding from the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River remain a concern, he said.

No hospital or nursing homes closed or relocated patients in Virginia, although three nursing homes are running on generator power, according to Maribeth Brewster, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Health. She also reports that the department doesn't expect flooding to pose any difficulties for the state's health care facilities.

In Massachusetts, "there are no issues," said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Eight hospitals are being powered by generators but service hasn't been affected, he said. "It's business as usual."

UPDATE: 3:15 p.m. -- No Connecticut hospitals have closed but three nursing homes, one hospice and one assisted living facility were evacuated, Connecticut Department of Public Health spokesman William Gerrish wrote in an email to HuffPost.



Hurricane Sandy

11/04/2012 12:26 AM EDT

PHOTO: A Marathon Wedding Proposal, Minus The Marathon

HuffPost's Katie Bindley reports:

Like all the competitors who trained for the 2012 NYC Marathon, Hannah Vahaba will not be running the race this year. But she also will never forget her moment at the finish line. After traveling in from Atlanta, Vahaba picked up a marriage proposal in Central Park on Saturday without having to traverse the 26.2-mile course.

"This is my fiance," said Vahaba, 31, who had tears running down her face as she stood in Central Park where the race would have ended, just moments after Martin O'Donoghue had proposed.

marriage proposal cancelled nyc marathon

Photo by Damon Scheleur

Read the full story here.

11/04/2012 12:25 AM EDT

Check Donation Lists

Be sure to check donation lists to see what items are needed. For example, at one Staten Island donation center, there is a critical need for batteries batteries batteries, candles, matches, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, pet food, baby supplies, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner. Clothing isn't needed as much at that center.

-Catharine Smith, HuffPost

11/03/2012 10:42 PM EDT

Brooklyn Regions Still Lack Electricity, Heat and Water Days After Storm

HuffPost's Tim Stenovec reports:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which killed at least 48 people in New York when it battered the Northeast last week, frustrated residents in this corner of South Brooklyn are coping without electricity, heat and running water.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 10:18 PM EDT

On Long Island, Cuomo demands Accountability from Utilities

Huntington Patch reports:

At a massive food distribution event at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Cuomo said power has been restored to 60 percent of the New York metropolitan area.

LIPA reported Saturday evening that 460,000 customers remained without power, down from more than 900,000 initially.

"I've warned the utility companies repeatedly they operate under a state charter, essentially," Cuomo said. "The utility companies are not happy with my warning and frankly, I don't care."

"The customers are not happy. The bill payers are not happy and the people without power are not happy," Cuomo said. "People are suffering. It is an issue of safety and if the utilities were not prepared we will hold them accountable."

Read the full story on Huntington Patch.

11/03/2012 9:38 PM EDT

Gasoline Shortage Likely To Last For Several More Days

Even as power returns to parts of the region assailed by Hurricane Sandy, millions of drivers seeking gasoline appear likely to face at least several more days of persistent shortages.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 8:50 PM EDT

Behind @ConEdison: The 27 Year-Old Preventing Panic, One Tweet At A Time

HuffPost's Bianca Bosker:

On Saturday, 27-year-old Kate Frasca was manning Con Edison’s Twitter account, @ConEdison, responding to customers’ frustrations, questions, praise and criticism at an average clip of one tweet every six minutes.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 8:35 PM EDT

Estimate Says 600 Million Gallons Of Water Hit Mass Transit System


Roughly 600 M gallons of storm water infiltrated the nation’s busiest and oldest underground mass transit system...

11/03/2012 8:15 PM EDT

$12 Million Donated So Far To NYC Mayor's Fund For Recovery

@ MikeBloomberg :

If you would like to donate: visit So far $12 million has been contributed. 100% of funds go to #Recovery efforts.

11/03/2012 7:52 PM EDT

Don't Touch Downed Power Lines

@ usNWSgov :

Post #Sandy reminders: never touch a downed power line or anything touching one. Washing your hands prevents illness. #NWS #CDC

11/03/2012 7:17 PM EDT

Volunteers Arrive In Staten Island

@ NYCMayorsOffice :

Volunteers Descend on Staten Island Neighborhood