NYU Chairman Says Hospital Shut Down by Sandy Was Configured 'To Code'

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Almost two weeks after Sandy, much of the Langone Medical Center at New York University remains closed, due to storm damage. Several buildings in the sprawling complex have already reopened, and several more are expected to in the next two weeks, but NYU doesn't know when Tisch Hospital—with its emergency room, intensive care units and labor and delivery ward—will once again receive patients.

"We have outside experts, engineers, going through it, assessing the damage and investigating what went wrong," said Kenneth Langone, chairman of the NYU Board of Trustees.

Langone was one of the more than 200 patients who was evacuated from NYU at the height of the storm.

He said hospital pumps failed, because they were overwhelmed by an event that was "unprecedented" and "an act of god."

"The generators are on the seventh floor, and the fuel supply is in cement vaults in the basement, where they're supposed to be according to code," Langone said. "Moisture sensors shut down the pumps, but they did what they're supposed to do."

Langone and hospital officials said that a new $200 million power facility that began construction earlier this year will insulate NYU from the vagaries of both the weather and the utility companies. It's part of a $3 billion project expected to be completed in 2019.