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Residents' Sandy Experience

Posted Date: 11/13/2012

The Residents' Reaction to Hurricane Sandy

Jane Germano, DO
Pediatric Chief Resident

Our Pediatric residents weathered Super Storm Sandy with grace under pressure and a dedication to their patients and their profession that made all of us proud to be part of the MICH family.  All the residents stepped up and helped in so many ways; I would like to highlight just a few.  The calls, text messages, and emails started Sunday morning.   Everyone was ready, their common response “just tell me what you need me to do.”  Offers came pouring in to work extra shifts, shuttle residents between home and the hospital, and to open their homes to their colleagues.  Both PGY3s on the inpatient ward live in Manhattan.   Alicia Salas was on the floor Sunday, after she signed out the floor to the night team, she rushed home, packed her bags, and left early Monday morning along with Pam Del Rosario in the NICU.  They both made it to their shifts, early.  Adam Zaentz packed his bags Sunday night and made his way to a fellow resident’s apartment on campus along with PGY1 Gary Maida who was scheduled to work at Coney Island Hospital Monday.   Tanya Kopp, lives in the flood zone, and fellow PGY1s Courtney Briggs, and Jess Thompson, live in Park Slope, PGY 2 Melissa Macomber and PGY 1 Christine Saracino in L&D made it to their inpatient rotations for Monday and stayed until the crisis was over.  Night Float PGY3 Steve Diamond came in Sunday night for his shift and Monday morning, said, “Don’t worry, I’m staying.”  His wife and children live in Manhattan, but he stayed at a friend’s house until the end of his tour Friday morning.  That night the Pediatric floor at Coney Island Hospital was cleared and taken over by Medicine and our residents went to staff their Pediatric ED.  Monday, PGY3 Puja Kumar and PGY2 Kiran Yelakanti were shuttled by Sathish, Peds Chief, out to the Coney Island ED to relieve PGY3 Susan Fraymovich.  That morning, all the residents stationed on outpatient rotations met in Saltzman auditorium ready for reassignment.   

Monday afternoon a call came into the chief’s office from Dr Seigel, there was a 29 week GA baby at Coney Island Hospital that needed to be delivered and transferred to Maimo.  The door was opened to get Puja and Kiran home for some rest and replace them with PGY3s Devin Wong and Ruben Vaidya.  The Maimonides ambulance was rocking from the wind gusts the entire ride over.  When we arrived the previously stable baby was intubated.   Ruben, with peanut butter & Jelly sandwiches from PGY3 Madhura Phadke in hand, made his way down to the ED to meet Devin.  We all packed baby and residents into the rocking ambulance and made it safely back to Maimo.   Later that night the emails, phone calls, text messages, and pages continued.  Devin, Ruben, and their attending in the ED, Dr Telt, and Dr Seigel were evacuated upwards from a flooding and powerless Coney Island emergency room.  At 11:02pm Dr Seigel texted “Everyone OK, in the dark”.  The next morning as soon as the call came in from Devin that he and Ruben were OK to leave, Sathish was dispatched once again to extract them and a sigh of relief could be felt throughout the residency. 

Tuesday was a new day, all the day team residents arrived, slightly rumpled from sleeping on friends' couches and floors.  Outpatient residents were reassigned to the floors and ED to prepare for the surge of patients from evacuated areas.  In the next few days, as evacuate patients arrived and word spread of the devastation, the residents sought ways to help.  PGY2 Georgia Koltsida accompanied Revital Caronia and me to the FDR High School shelter with armloads of supplies.  PGY1 Amin Akhlaghi joined the Red Hook initiative, knocking on doors, giving supplies and reassurance.  The next day PGY3 Tritia Desa and PGY2 Beena Iype joined him and the next day PGY3s Melissa Hersh and Zaira Rivera Diaz also joined.   Friday, PGY3s Alicia Salas, Adam Zaentz, and Danijela Kero were finally able to leave their posts and check on the damage to their apartments in Manhattan.  The relief work continues as life slowly gets back to normal and for our residents its back to business as usual.  They weathered the storm, they stepped up, and came together like a true family, and should all be commended.


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