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Why Did NYU Langone's Emergency Generators Fail?

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 1, 2012

Up for TJC accreditation
It seems that backup generator competence would be a priority for NYU Langone officials, especially since any day, they were expecting their three-year unannounced full survey from the Joint Commission to renew their accreditation. 

In particular, such generators shouldn't be in the basement of any hospital at the water's edge, as some of them apparently are at NYU Langone, which is situated next to the East River in Lower Manhattan.

It's not like NYU Langone has no money to spend. Just in the last two months, the hospital has purchased expensive equipment—a Siemens new Somatom Definition Edge single-source CT system and a state-of-the-art PET/MRI Biograph mMr scanner.

I'm just asking: Do those new machines have the ability to save more lives than, say, having a competent electrical system to assure that power stays on in a storm?

It does seem odd, after all the disasters hospitals have endured across the country from sudden "acts of God," for which there may have been far less warning, that lessons haven't been heeded.  They've certainly been learned.

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3 comments on "Why Did NYU Langone's Emergency Generators Fail?"


Tom Lawrence (11/5/2012 at 10:34 AM)
Emergency Power systems seem to nearly always be under-sized, because no one expects that they will really be needed or that the "Worst Case Scenarios" will ever happen...It doesn't cost that much more to do it right, and making the wrong choice will always get you on the evening news....

Alan Falk (11/5/2012 at 1:04 AM)
You won't publish this, but I'd like to comment anyway... The generators failed because it's freaking impossible to create a backup scenario that will protect against ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING that can happen!! Like Fukishima... the power plants should have been on higher ground and maybe should have been designed to withstand tsunamis five times bigger than the one that took them out. But someone, somewhere, had to make an economic choice of how much protection was statistically likely to be needed, as well as how much they could afford... Not to mention that location and sizing of the backup generators might have been better on TOP of the building, but might have been way to expensive for any organization to implement! Enough finger-pointing, blame-gaming and Monday-morning quarterbacking, already! Dumb article.... and too long, too.

Max Caufield (11/2/2012 at 2:57 PM)
Piers Morgan is a real hack but the generator/electronic controls in the basement begs the questions[INVALID]didn't anyone learn anything from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Who puts anything electronic in the basement when you are located right next to an ocean or a river? Aren't you just asking for trouble?