Mount Sinai Clinical Staff and Employees Coordinate To Assist in Evacuation of Patients from Bellevue and NYU Langone

The Mount Sinai Medical Center operates above capacity and is anticipating that it may take weeks before the number of inpatients drops to regular levels after superstorm Sandy.

New York, NY
 – November 5, 2012 /Press Release/  –– 

A week after so-called Superstorm Sandy devastated the New York City area, the Mount Sinai Medical Center continues to operate above capacity and is anticipating that it may take weeks before the number of inpatients drops to regular levels.

"As one of the largest hospitals in New York City, we usually operate at approximately 95 percent capacity," said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and CEO of The Mount Sinai Medical Center. "But with this crisis, we have taken care of many additional patients, including those with serious and complex conditions." Mount Sinai also activated its emergency command center and staffed it with 70 people that rotated shifts during the week, Dr. Davis added.

During the storm and its aftermath, Mount Sinai received over 100 patients from area hospitals that had power outages and damage during the storm. Immediately after Hurricane Irene in 2011, the hospital received 36 patients who were evacuated from NYU Langone Medical Center, making Sandy the institution's largest disaster-relief effort.

"Our entire staff served heroically during and after the worst storm New York City has ever seen," said Erin DuPree, MD, Chief Medical Officer of The Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Physicians, nurses, support and ancillary staff all worked side-by-side to handle the tremendous influx of patients."

Throughout Hurricane Sandy, the Nursing Department provided care for all patients. "Many RNs came to work on Sunday planning to stay for the duration of the storm," said Carol Porter, DNP, RN, Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President of The Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Our nurses along with the entire health care team worked together and many stayed overnight." Mount Sinai is an American Nursing Association Magnet-recognized Nursing Department, and Porter is also the Edgar M. Cullman, Senior Chair of the Department of Nursing and Associate Dean of Nursing Research and Education, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

According to Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and CEO, The Mount Sinai Medical Center, additional staff was on duty in every area.   

  • The Engineering Department set up six interdisciplinary rapid-response teams on Monday, October 29, and immediately put them on alternating schedules. Mount Sinai's IT staff worked to develop extra precautions to safeguard patient records.

  • Security personnel also worked in 12-hour shifts, doubled on-duty staff from 30 to 60 people per shift, and added extra shuttle bus drivers to enable employees to get to and from work after public transportation was disrupted in and around the city.  

  • In anticipation of the storm, on Sunday, October 28, Mount Sinai's food service department brought in 140 people who stayed on campus overnight. Ordinarily, food service staff numbers 135 people during the day.  

  • Facilities staff also worked around the clock to provide overnight accommodations for all staff and physicians. At any one time, there were 1,200 people sleeping at the hospital each night throughout the week.

  • The admitting department worked closely with social services to appropriately and safely discharge patients and ensure that there were enough inpatient beds to meet the needs of patients who were transferred from other hospitals. On Friday, November 2, in a matter of hours, facilities also helped transform an ambulatory cancer center into an inpatient unit.   

  • Pharmacy staff also stayed overnight and ensured adequate supply of pharmaceuticals.

In addition, the Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Mount Sinai is prepared to care for hurricane responders who are physically or emotionally injured in their service after Hurricane Sandy, said Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, Dean for Global Health, Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine, and the Ethel H. Wise Professor of Preventive Medicine.  

Throughout the crisis, Mount Sinai's Emergency Department has been open and Mount Sinai's Urgent Care Facility, located at 91st Street and Columbus Avenue, is fully staffed and accepting outpatient cases.

Mount Sinai continues to coordinate with leaders from other area hospitals, the NYC Office of Emergency Management and the Greater NY Hospital Association, to ensure that all patients receive continuous care. To that end, Mount Sinai is credentialing over 400 physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists from NYU Langone. A lecture hall is also being identified to accommodate medical school students from NYU School of Medicine.

Due to a power failure on Monday, October 29, NYU Langone was forced to evacuate its patients, 70 of whom were taken to Mount Sinai. On Wednesday, power failed at Bellevue, sending an additional 37 patients to Mount Sinai overnight. All patients were immediately cared for, including two women from NYU Langone who delivered babies once they arrived at Mount Sinai.

Contact numbers for the Selikoff Center: Manhattan 212-241-5555 and Yonkers 914-964-4737.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of the leading medical schools in the United States. The Medical School is noted for innovation in education, biomedical research, clinical care delivery, and local and global community service. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 14 research institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and by U.S. News & World Report.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital 14th on its elite Honor Roll of the nation's top hospitals based on reputation, safety, and other patient-care factors. Mount Sinai is one of 12 integrated academic medical centers whose medical school ranks among the top 20 in NIH funding and U.S. News & World Report and whose hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll.  Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 560,000 outpatient visits took place.

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