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Rebuilding Emergency Care After Hurricane Sandy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 April 2014

David C. Lee*
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, and Department of Emergency Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Silas W. Smith
Department of Emergency Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York
Christopher M. McStay
Department of Emergency Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York
Ian Portelli
Department of Emergency Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York
Lewis R. Goldfrank
Department of Emergency Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York
Gregg Husk
Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, New York
Nirav R. Shah
Department of Emergency Medicine and Office of the Commissioner, New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York
Correspondence to David C. Lee, MD, RWJF Clinical Scholars Program, 423 Guardian Dr, Blockley Hall, floor 13, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (e-mail:


A freestanding, 911-receiving emergency department was implemented at Bellevue Hospital Center during the recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy to compensate for the increased volume experienced at nearby hospitals. Because inpatient services at several hospitals remained closed for months, emergency volume increased significantly. Thus, in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health and other partners, the Health and Hospitals Corporation and Bellevue Hospital Center opened a freestanding emergency department without on-site inpatient care. The successful operation of this facility hinged on key partnerships with emergency medical services and nearby hospitals. Also essential was the establishment of an emergency critical care ward and a system to monitor emergency department utilization at affected hospitals. The results of this experience, we believe, can provide a model for future efforts to rebuild emergency care capacity after a natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1-4)

Report from the Field
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2014 

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