Six months after Hurricane Sandy, Brooklyn's Coney Island Hospital is up and running, but there's still a lot of work left to do. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.
Six months after Hurricane Sandy forced Coney Island Hospital to evacuate 260 patients, the institution is still recovering and it could take another 12 months until it's fully restored.
"The emergency department is operating in about 40 percent of the space prior to what it did to the storm, 911 receiving we were bringing in medicine patients and pediatric patients," said Coney Island Hospital Executive Director Arthur Wagner.
The in-patient pediatric wing is still down and the MRI/CAT scan room is under construction. Workers are trying to strike a careful balance between providing needed services, rebuilding and keeping areas near active construction zones clean.
Still, at this point, Coney Island is offering about two-thirds of its pre-Sandy services. Wagner credits his staff of more than 2,800.
"They had houses and family that were affected and they still provided those services," Wagner said.
The hospital's team is also looking ahead.
"Every storm season that comes through, we are vulnerable," he said.
Sandy flood waters completely submerged an electrical switch room, rendering the 60-year-old equipment useless. Now power is being wired through from two neighboring buildings until a new electrical room can be built at a higher level.
"A platform would be built say, outside, where the parking lot is right now," said CIH Director of Engineering/Facilities Dan Collins.
The hospital is also exploring more permanent storm prevention measures that include a new building with an elevated emergency department, or constructing a water barrier around the campus. Either way, substantial government support would be needed.
Wagner said making sure another Sandy doesn't cripple them and the 75,000 they serve, is worth it.
"I think it is starting to fade in some people's memories but anybody that is on the south shore of Brooklyn, Staten Island, Long Island, Jersey, it hasn't gone away," Wagner said.