While it's fun to laugh a little, and shake our heads a lot, at the clueless folks freaking out that they might not get their Starbucks during a hurricane, there are plenty of people who have behaved not just decently but positively heroically during and following Sandy's siege upon New York City and the surrounding areas. From the many offers I'm seeing on Twitter from lucky people who have power, Internet, and food and are happy to share it with those without, to the emergency responders who've been working many sleepless hours through very scary situations, to the teachers who volunteered at evacuation centers, to the city employees and Con Ed workers who've diligently kept going for the rest of us despite their own families and personal concerns, these are the people making us feel better about humanity in general. Good job, New York! Thanks, all. We'd like to pay special tribute to the following:
The nurses and medical professionals who evacuated patients from New York University's Langone Medical Center when their backup generator failed. Last night, when the power failed, approximately 1,000 hospital staffers (doctors, nurses, residents, and medical students), along with firefighters and police officers, carried some 260 patients down 15 flights of stairs, in the dark, with flashlights, to ambulances that transported them to other area hospitals. According to CNN, the hospital lost power around 7 p.m. Monday after lower floors and elevator banks filled with 10 to 12 feet of water, and though emergency generators kicked in, "two hours later, about 90% of that power went out, and the hospital decided to evacuate their patients." Evacuating hospital patients takes some time and much care, as one can imagine; as of 9 a.m. today 40 or so remained. Some of those evacuated last night were 20 babies from neonatal intensive care. Via CNN:
Four of the newborns were on respirators that were breathing for them, and when the power went out, each baby was carried down nine flights of stairs while a nurse manually squeezed a bag to deliver air to the baby's lungs.
From a first-person account of the situation via BoingBoing, patients too sick to walk "were painstakingly carried on plastic sleds — one by one — by teams of four to five people from as high up as the 17th floor."