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Why Did NYU Langone's Emergency Generators Fail?

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 1, 2012

In full compliance
Rubin told Morgan that he didn't come on Morgan's show "to talk about generators." But he added that the systems "are tested all the time and in full compliance with all federal and state regulations...Our generators were working. This was an unprecedented storm."

"But they weren't working, were they?" Morgan shot back.

"They failed," Rubin said.

"If they failed, they're not working, are they?" Morgan retorted.

Something tells me that the dominant explanation so far, speculation that the hospital's infrastructure is "outdated" won't cut it with the Joint Commission or the City of New York, especially now.

Emergency power generator requirements
A spokeswoman for the Joint Commission said Wednesday that accredited hospitals have to identify potential emergencies and have management plans "that address command structures, backup communication systems, building evacuations, and coordination with other community health care organizations and emergency responders."

Specifically included "are requirements for utility systems to be designed and installed in such a manner as to ensure they are reliable during an emergency. Inspecting, testing, and maintaining critical components such as the emergency power generator is also required."

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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?