By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Six months after Superstorm Sandy crippled Coney Island Hospital, US Rep. Michael Grimm took a tour of the hospital to see the progress that has been made to get the facility back up to full strength.
Grimm (R-C-Brooklyn-Staten Island) and a group of journalists visited the hospital on April 29, six months to the day of the hurricane. “I would say that they’re somewhere between 60 percent and two-thirds of where they should be in terms of getting back up,” Grimm told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in a phone interview on April 30, the day after his visit.
“Their 911 system is back on line. They’re taking emergency cases. But there are no pediatric services. They’re not delivering babies. They’re still limited in what they can do. Hopefully, they’ll be fully back in line by July 1,” Grimm said.
“We’re operating about 40 percent of capacity to total number of beds. We have about two-thirds of the inpatient units open,” Executive Director Arthur Wagner told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.
“Mr. Wagner and his team have done an incredible job,” Grimm said.
Coney Island Hospital, at 2601 Ocean Parkway, suffered devastating damage in the superstorm. The storm flooded the city-run hospital’s basement and first floor. The emergency room was knocked out of service. The hospital had to be evacuated. In the weeks and months following the hurricane, emergency cases were diverted to other hospitals in southern Brooklyn. Emergency services were only recently restored.
“Their entire electrical system was wiped out. They had to rebuild it from scratch,” Grimm said. He called the storm, “a devastating blow to the hospital.”
As Grimm toured the hospital, he could see reminders of Sandy everywhere. “There’s a lot of construction going on. There are a lot of areas where you see plastic sheets up. They’re rebuilding,” he said.
Coney Island Hospital is a 371-bed facility run by the city’s Health and Hospital’s Corporation. The hospital admits an average of 18,000 patients a year and treats another 300,000 people a year on an out-patient basis. The situation at Coney Island Hospital “had a tremendous effect on my district,” Grimm said. “They have a huge area to cover. It really affecting my constituents a great deal,” he said.
Grimm said he would continue to fight for funding to assist the hospital in its efforts to rebuild. “We’re waiting for HUD to release $1.8 billion to the city for Sandy relief. They’re already approved $1.7 billion for the state. We’re fighting to make sure the city funding comes through,” he said.