1. Visit this thread to beta-test StudySchedule.org. StudySchedule is a free nonprofit site that builds dynamic MCAT study schedules unique for your needs and timeline.
  2. It’s Test Prep Week! Visit the Test Prep Forums to learn about test prep products and services, ask questions in test-related AMA threads, take advantage of exclusive SDN member discounts, and enter to win free stuff!
Hey, Guest, do you know how much will it cost you to apply to medical school? Check out SDN's Medical School Application Cost Calculator and plan your budget.
Whether you’re preparing for the USMLE, COMLEX, NBDE or APMLE, Test Prep Week Exhibitors can help you ace your boards!

What do hospitals do when back-up generators fail?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Thego2guy, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. SDN is made possible through member donations, sponsorships, and our volunteers. Learn about SDN's nonprofit mission.
  1. Thego2guy

    Thego2guy 5+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2011
    Greetings to all from Hurricane Sandy,

    NYU hospital's back-up generators have failed. That means no power for anything... monitors, ventilators, etc...

    The pediatric and neuro ICU's had to be evacuated.

    What the hell do you in these situations? How does the medical community handle such emergencies? I PRESUME that they are not trained for such things because they always rely so heavily on their back-up generators. Navigating a hospital of this size (enormous skyscraper) with out any power must be pure chaos right now..

    (Weill Cornell, Hospital for Special Surgery, MSKCC, Rockefllar Hospital, are all also half a block away from the East River. I hope all goes well for them).
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. BABSstudent

    BABSstudent Established Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2011
    Why do you think we have to learn physics and chemistry? Set up a redox reaction to create a flow of electrons, and then set up the batteries together in parallel to create a more powerful battery.

  4. phikapdoctor


    Aug 25, 2012

    There's the article. If you don't feel like reading they pretty much had 50 Ambos take patients to different hospitals. Obviously an inconvience.. I'm sure every hospital acts different when the most unfortunate event happens.

    Sent from my iPhone using SDN Mobile app please excuse punctuation and spelling
  5. baxt1412

    baxt1412 2+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2012
    you are awesome lol
  6. phikapdoctor


    Aug 25, 2012
  7. baxt1412

    baxt1412 2+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2012
    lol at link
  8. Thego2guy

    Thego2guy 5+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2011
    Yeah, they are taking them to Sinai, and Sloan... Sloan is half a block away from the water, and Sinai is 2 blocks away from the water.

    In the event that their **** goes to hell too... wtf do you do?
  9. baxt1412

    baxt1412 2+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2012
    keep moving them further and further away. no other option, first do no harm, do everything in your power to keep a patient alive.
  10. BABSstudent

    BABSstudent Established Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2011
    Keep moving them closer and closer to the water! Seriously people, did you not study for the MCAT? Salt water contains electrolytes! It conducts electricity. Now they just need to find a way to remove the pacemakers from everyone's chest and connect the wires to the water.

    Boom! Problem solved.
  11. yellowperil


    Nov 2, 2011
    I laughed when I read this. :laugh:
    Don't forget to add a step up transformer.
  12. Geebeejay

    Geebeejay 2+ Year Member

    Monitors all have battery backup that should last long enough for ambulances to arrive. Vents I'm not so sure of, but you can always bag the patients. Umm, as far as I know, an internal disaster code would be called that would mobilize outside EMS and alert other hospitals of the disaster (in fact, the code would probably go out even if the generator didn't fail), and would remain on until the generator is restored, or power is restored.
  13. 911 Turbo

    911 Turbo med student Gold Donor 5+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2010
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    Use a pikachu to provide electricity to the grid duh
  14. phikapdoctor


    Aug 25, 2012
    This guy gets it.

    Sent from my iPhone using SDN Mobile app please excuse punctuation and spelling
  15. ElCapone

    ElCapone Don't Lawyer Me 5+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2011
    Nah. It's a bunch of firebenders who come in and light up the grid

  16. Cornu Ammonis

    Cornu Ammonis 5+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2011
    Batteries in series increase the power through increased voltage; batteries in parallel only run longer!
  17. Renaissance Man

    Renaissance Man Saving the World 7+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    East Coast
    During Katrina I remember hearing that medical personnel manually bagged patients for days. Electronic devices should have extended batteries for intermediate relief. Evacuate patients based on their acuity and hope power is restored.
  18. Thego2guy

    Thego2guy 5+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2011
    Thanks for giving me the only serious answer.
  19. Thego2guy

    Thego2guy 5+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2011
    Wow. :scared:
  20. Camy99

    Camy99 5+ Year Member

    Jun 5, 2011
    Did someone say Pokemon? (;
  21. neusu

    neusu Staff Member SDN Administrator 5+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2012
    NYU evacuated, Cornell/Columbia/Sinai picked up the patients
  22. TheMightySmiter

    TheMightySmiter 7+ Year Member

    Oct 18, 2009
    The average clinical hospital employee isn't well-trained for disaster situations, at least anywhere I've worked. I'm not from an area prone to disaster, though. I imagine the supervisors are trained so that things don't go to complete hell.
  23. CuttingCorneas

    CuttingCorneas Loading Haters █████ 100% 5+ Year Member

    May 10, 2011
  24. MaxillofacialMN

    MaxillofacialMN Osteopathic Foot Dentist 7+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    The Grand Ballroom
  25. Owlie

    Owlie Future rocket surgeon

    Jan 13, 2012
    Pacific Northwest
    Well, at a hospital that conducts research, you could get all the rats to run on wheels to make electricity!

    But seriously, that's why having two hospitals near each other is a good idea.
  26. Geebeejay

    Geebeejay 2+ Year Member

    Definitely right. I've taken a few classes (because it interests me) in disaster training, mass casualty event training, and even some inhospital disaster training such as active shooter simulations.

    The former aren't attended by very many people (luckily, EMS does many simulations of these types of events, so at least they'll be ready. Hospital response is mainly policy based, and determines where patients are placed). As far as internal disasters such as power outages, most of the information we receive of protocols are theoretical and ideal at best, and it's up to the resourcefulness of the staff (luckily, most hospital staff can be very resourceful) to figure out a way to get by in such disasters.

    For the latter situation (active shooter), a response would involve the Senior Management, Security, the ED, EMS to transfer victims away from the hospital, especially if the ED is located far from the scene (hospitals are big), and Local Police. The classes were actually classified, and I couldn't tell any co-workers the protocols even if I wanted to. Most people in the hospital don't even know such a policy even exists.
  27. mmmcdowe

    mmmcdowe Duke of minimal vowels Gold Donor SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    SDN Author
    I doubt that Cornell and Sinai are going to get evacuated, but if it came down to it they'd move patients to higher ground hospitals. Columbia has already received some transfers and I imagine that Harlem and St. Luke's are also fairly well protected from the flooding.
  28. Planes2Doc

    Planes2Doc 5+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2012
    The South
    Hahahahaha!!! That's epic.

    I'm guessing the critical machines used to help patients probably have backup batteries to keep them going for a while. Not too sure though. But like others said, the patients would be moved to other institutions.
  29. Spinach Dip

    Spinach Dip Delicious with nachos 2+ Year Member

    Feb 9, 2012
    This. And from what I recall, they took shifts to prevent fatigue.

    In all seriousness (ignoring Pikachus), care in a worst-case scenario like this would revert to basic life support (bagging, etc) until either power is restored, or the patient can be evacuated to another facility.
  30. ShenanigansMD

    ShenanigansMD Gryffindor

    Jul 9, 2012
    Horcrux Hunting
    Mr. Fusion is the answer.

  31. FermiParadox42

    FermiParadox42 Space Doctor 2+ Year Member

    Oct 8, 2012
    In Maryland during the hurricane county hospitals had to continually provide a census of their beds to the local government so if a hospital had to be evacuated they would know which hospital had which kind of bed (NICU, ICU, Telemetry etc...)
  32. wholeheartedly

    wholeheartedly SDN Administrator 7+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2009
    Beyond the Wall
    I'm not located in an area prone to disasters either, but the adequacy of training can be really department specific. We've had a few real mass casualty situations and the ED and critical care areas seemed to have a pretty good system in place to deal with it. The area I worked in had a vague SOP, poor communication (we should have been one of the first areas to be informed of the situation, but our director knew quite awhile before us and didn't bother to notify us). My roommate who'd only worked there for two years was coordinating the response when I showed up while mgmt stood around not really know what to do, just saying I don't know then basically nodding there head and agreeing when she suggested various things.

    When I was training, I had asked one of my trainers what we did in mass casualty situation and she'd told me I probably wouldn't ever see one since they were pretty rare. We wound up having three that year.

    Overall it went well, but it was frustrating. It's something we should have drilled for like the rest of the hospital so we weren't doing as much trouble shooting during the actual situation. Then again, you can't always train for these situations and you're always going to be doing some trouble shooting on the fly.
  33. Geebeejay

    Geebeejay 2+ Year Member

    If that's true, that's a pretty dumb routine. People who don't know what they're doing (certain management staff, government) being in charge of disposition of patients is a recipe for disaster and causes unnecessary boarding of patients. This should be facilitated by hospital Care Coordinators (who will actually distribute patients logically) and EMS management, not government agents who only walk into hospitals to get treatment.
  34. jippyslim

    jippyslim 7+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2010
    Even worse, this happened: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/magazine/30doctors.html?pagewanted=all

    It's a serious issue that i don't think gets a lot of attention

Share This Page