As Hurricane Sandy ripped a huge swath of destruction through the Northeast Monday, the backstop gave way at NYU Langone Medical Center.
That backstop was the medical center's electrical generators, which were needed to keep lights, ventilators, and all manner of life-sustaining medical equipment in operation.
But its generators failed and NYU Langone found itself having to evacuate some of its sickest patients during a storm that had been predicted to be "the worst case scenario," by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a media report.
It called on Mount Sinai Hospital four miles uptown in Manhattan to take in dozens of critical patients. But Mount Sinai's intensive care beds were all full.
Some quick thinking hit on an innovative solution, says the hospital's chief medical officer, Erin DuPree, MD.
"We opened up our PACUs, our post-anesthesia care units or surgical recovery units," DuPree says. "It's one of the innovative things that we did that I don't think a lot of other places have thought of for these emergencies, and that really just set it up for the NYU (NYU Langone Medical Center) team to come in and take care of their critically ill patients."