Friday, November 02, 2012
If Sandy had hit Honolulu, would our hospitals have been ready?
“Ralston Davis had a triple heart bypass operation at Bellevue, but when the hospital lost power, he walked down 10 flights of stairs and was moved to another medical center.”—New York Times
by Larry Geller
Two nearby hospitals in Manhattan had been evacuated before the storm, but not Bellevue, in what will likely be described as a bad call. NYU Langone Medical Center, Coney Island Hospital and Bellevue evacuated patients after the storm had started. It turns out that emergency generators that had traditionally been installed in basements were flooded.
[New York City health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, said: ] “There was no loss of life as a result of those evacuations.”
[New York Times, At Bellevue, a Desperate Fight to Ensure the Patients’ Safety, 11/1/2012]
FEMA was already on the scene:
A patient recovering from a triple bypass operation at Bellevue walked down 10 flights of stairs to a waiting ambulance, one of the dozens provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to speed patients across the metropolitan region.
New York City had emergency plans in place and despite the problems, handled the evacuations heroically and with no loss of life.
Now back to Hawaii.
Oahu continues to suffer from the closure of ER facilities and ambulance diversions from overcrowded hospital emergency rooms since the closing of the two Hawaii Medical Center hospitals.
Should disaster strike Honolulu, what is our readiness to handle medical emergencies? At the time of the hospital closures and initial ambulance diversions, Disappeared News was unable to get a response from the usual suspects. Of course, this is just a little blog off somewhere in Cyberspace.
Isn’t this a question that official news media should be asking right about now, and demanding answers? How vulnerable are we? What plans are in place? What details should be revealed to give the public confidence that we are being protected by our state and county governments?
How many of our own hospitals have generators in their basements? What lessons can we learn from NYC’s experience, and what corrections do we need to put in place?
- Does Oahu have enough emergency room capacity for a real emergency? (1/8/2012)
- Oahu at risk—little ER capacity if disaster strikes (2/22/2012)
- Oahu likely in denial about hospital crisis—what if we have a real emergency? (3/15/2012)
(From the March article: " ‘They have worked very diligently, 24 hours,’ she said of the staff. ‘The breathing tube was removed (on Wednesday). He is awake and kind of feisty.’ Stem is waiting to be transferred to Oahu for reconstructive surgery, but there are no hospital rooms available, she said.” )