12/9/12

Why Weren't Nursing Homes in Zone A Evacuated?

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on New York City and nursing homes and adult care facilities in Zone A preparing to evacuate, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on the advice of state and city officials, stopped the evacuation.

Although Bloomberg and Cuomo administration officials have defended the decision, the thousands of elderly, disabled and mentally ill residents left in more than 40 beachfront nursing homes and adult care facilities paid the price.

Facilities flooded; power, heat and food were lost. Backup generators failed.  It took first responders three days to get to the more than 4,000 nursing home and 1,500 adult home residents left in cold, dark buildings without elevators.

Residents waited hours for transport and ended up in crowded shelters as far away as Albany, where it took their families and their medical records days to find them. Thousands were kept in "last-resort" medical shelters incapable of providing skilled nursing care.  Patients were transported alone, with no medical charts.

The questionable decision to stop the evacuation of the nursing homes and adult care facilities was complicated by poor planning, communication and coordination between facility managers and government oversight agencies.  As a result, the most vulnerable New York residents were left exposed.

The reluctance to evacuate the nursing homes was apparently the result of last year's costly decision to evacuate before Tropical Storm Irene -- and the fear that evacuating too soon would cause negative publicity.

The article from the New York Times.

More from Queens Crap.

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