NYU Langone Medical Center caught media attention during Superstorm Sandy when the hospital was forced to evacuate hundreds of patients, including infant babies, while the storm raged on. The center suffered extensive flood damage, and now a massive cleanup operation is underway. CNN was the first network to be allowed to have cameras inside to see the damage. Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen surveyed the damage.
The hospital was “ruined by more than 10 million gallons of flood water,” Cohen reports. It's been pumped out, but Cohen and her guide Richard Cohen, the Vice President of Facilities Operations, wear a mask because of the smell left behind. In the cellar, the water destroyed several million dollars worth of equipment in an MRI suite. On the first floor, the water was so high people could have almost been under water. A lecture hall “became a swimming pool.”
“NYU Langone has brought in hundreds of clean up workers,” Cohen reports, “some with specialized skills from around the country.” “Clean up is 24/7, expected to cost around $700 million.”
NYU Langone's Chairman of the Board, Ken Langone, was a patient at the hospital the night of the storm. He was recovering from pneumonia and walked out the building during the evacuation. “They woke me up and said we're evacuating,” Langone says. “And I said ‘fine.’ So I got up and brushed my teeth, put my clothes on and I said ‘let's go.’”
Now many rooms throughout the medical center are idle. Langone says he hopes they will be up and running again in about four weeks.