A view from the waiting room
Managing the emergency department at the only hospital operational below 57th Street during Hurricane Sandy provided me with a unique perspective on the spirit of New Yorkers.
Many people literally ran into our ER. They were anxious, scared, panicked and desperate for medical and emotional care. It was hectic and frenetic, even by ER standards. But during this crisis, something inspiring emerged as well: People came together. Injured police officers left the hospital to hail a cab for released patients. Family members of sick patients interpreted for non-English speaking patients in the stretcher next to them. Friends and neighbors came to the ER to get help for a loved one stuck at home. Sick patients who left the hospital one day came back the next to volunteer. And our hospital employees – many of whom live downtown and were themselves victims of Sandy – worked endless hours and cared for patients with grace and compassion.
Amidst the pain and concern caused by this catastrophe, our ER was a place where the true spirit of New Yorkers came through.
John M. Samuels
The David B. Kriser
Department of Emergency Medicine
Beth Israel Medical Center
Thank you, Con Ed and CompassRock
The following letter was sent out to numerous ST/PCV residents via email from the author, Eileen Togashi, on Monday, November 5.
To all ST/PCV neighbors:
One week ago, at this precise moment, it all happened…9 p.m. Monday, October 29, 2012…we heard an explosion around 8:30-ish; lights dimmed and returned and then at 9 p.m. another loud explosion followed by a total blackout. The predicted high tide and full moon was occurring around 8 p.m. and I was alerted that the Avenue C Loop was flooding… We ran down the 11 flights and stopped in our tracks to see high water overtaking the cars parked on the loop. We didn’t wade through it but ran back through the Oval and out to Avenue B and 14th Street…
Con Ed trucks and fire engines were already there as the East River was gushing up 14th Street and rushing around the Avenue B corner and around the AlphaBet Cafe. People poured out of the buildings, too, and we all stared in dismay and snapped photos like mad. Speechless. Little did we know what lay ahead. But we all now know the rest of The Tale of Two Cities and a few hours ago, 8 Stuyvesant Oval discovered hot steam pipes and hot water flowing out of the faucets! Hooray! I, for one, never expected it so soon.
Bravo and thank you to Con Ed! How can we get our thank-you letters to them for their Herculean work? And I know we also want to thank CompassRock for their daily and complete updates.
We pray for the rapid return of all services to the buildings that are still without!