Sandy Exposed Hospitals’ Lack of Disaster Preparedness

By Sharon Begley | November 6, 2012

  • November 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm
    Cheetoh Mulligan says:
    Like or Dislike:
    Thumb up 6
    Thumb down 0

    Let’s not limit the unpreparedness to just hospitals. Include gas stations, grocery stores and other life necessities as well. The need back up generators so they can operate after a disaster.

  • November 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm
    JenWin says:
    Like or Dislike:
    Thumb up 7
    Thumb down 0

    This is a great article that addressing a very large issue but only part of the issue. Think the discussion needs to be expanded to address the other elephant in the room … patient evacuation equipment. The news reported both Bellevue and NYU used equipment (med sleds) to move the patients down the stairs. NYU took 15 hours with the help of entire staff and first responders. If that was an earthquake or fire … first responders would not have been there and after 15 hours they would have been moving corpses, not live patients. NYU and Bellevue have invested in evacuation equipment and training, they are ahead of most. The issue … like most hospitals they only purchased equipment that they had enough grant dollars to buy, not what they needed.

    They do not have anywhere near enough … 15 hours is a deadly scenario and highlights a very big problem. Plans that assume that they will never have to evacuate the entire building, will never have to go vertical, will always have use of the elevators if we have to go vertical because of the backup generators, will always be able to move patients on wheeled devices, that shelter in place / use rooms of refuge … First responders will always be able to come and take care of the evacuation are flawed and need to be rethought. Where is the Joint Commission in all this. As the watchdog and standard setters … they check if there is a plan and they do a drill but if the plan is flawed, there is no equipment to back up the plan and the drills are poorly set up … who’s checking?

    We have learned so much since New Orleans … problem is, we have not done enough about what we have learned.

  • November 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm
    hmmmmmmm says:
    Like or Dislike:
    Thumb up 4
    Thumb down 0

    Jen…. agree with most — I think we “discovered” so much since New Orleans but I am not sure we “learned”. We (the hospital administrations, FEMA, Federal and State Goverments and private sector) are aware of problems, but communications, politics and plain ‘ol money is the issue. When soliciting for donations and grants, I can see someone stepping up with a cool million for a neo-natal or cancer research fund, but to ask for generator and equipment to evacuate in case of emergency — the article is right, it is not sexy. This is not the last disaster to hit our country (remember the hospital in Missouri that was hit with the tornado). As a country, as a Federal Administration, we need to plan better. Regardless of who is picked today as President, we need to plan better for the future disasters.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


More News
More News Features