Hospitals prepare for influx of hurricane injuries

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Hospitals across the city are ready for Hurricane Sandy.

“We know that [the storm] is for several days,” said Terry Lynam, a spokesperson for North Shore LIJ Health System. “This is going to cause some major challenges for us.”

The eastern Queens facility, linked with 16 city hospitals in the same network, raised its staff by 150 percent during the hurricane to accommodate an increase in storm-related injuries and those transferred from evacuated hospitals, including Eastern Long Island Hospital and Long Beach hospitals on Long Island. Providing extra beds and supplies for the expanded staff has provided a challenge, said Lynam.

To alleviate doctors’ schedules, all elective surgeries have been postponed and all non-acute patients were dismissed over the weekend, according to Lynam. However, the hospital’s emergency room has continued to see a steady stream of cases, including hurricane-induced falls and cuts. Lynam said that so far no serious injuries from the storm have been reported.

According to Atiya Butler, a spokesperson from Elmhurst Hospital, the western Queens medical center has stopped accepting patients from other hospitals.

“Things are ugly outside but calm inside” said Camela Morrissey, a spokesperson from New York Hospital Queens.

The Flushing hospital, which spent the past few days preparing for the storm, remains fully operational, following almost the same protocol as North Shore LIJ.

“You stop doing some of the non-essential stuff so that you have the potential to to the unexpected stuff,” said Morrissey.

When asked if she was concerned that patients might not get the service they need, Morissey replied “absolutely not.”