Wednesday, October 31, 2012

unbelievable - N.Y. hospital staff carry sick babies down 9 flights of stairs during evacuation


(CNN) -- At times with only flashlights to illuminate the way, NYU Langone Medical Center began evacuating about 260 patients, carrying some of them down 15 flights of stairs to ambulances ready to take them to the safety of other hospitals.

The hospital didn't anticipate such heavy flooding from Sandy, the superstorm that hit Monday, and chose not to evacuate all its patients before the storm, as it did with Hurricane Irene a year ago.

But between 7 and 7:45 p.m. Monday, the hospital's basement, lower floors and elevator shafts filled with 10 to 12 feet of water, and the hospital lost its power, according to Dr. Andrew Brotman, senior vice president and vice dean for clinical affairs and strategy.

Superstorm Sandy's wrath

"Things went downhill very, very rapidly and very unexpectedly," Brotman said. "The flooding was just unprecedented."

Roof-mounted emergency generators did kick in, but two hours later, about 90% of that power went out, and the hospital decided to evacuate patients.

The evacuation was completed by 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to a hospital statement.

Residents trapped as streets become rivers

Four 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.

Millions without power

"This is a labor-intensive, extremely difficult process," Brotman said.

The adult respirators had batteries, so those patients did not need manual respiration, he added.

"Anytime you transport any patient at all, let alone a tiny baby ... there are several things that can go wrong," Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, said Tuesday on "The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer. "Some of those breathing tubes can be very tenuous, they can come out very easily. Someone obviously manually ventilating, providing air and ventilation to the baby, even if someone gets tired -- that can be a huge problem. Babies breathe faster than adults, so you have to be doing this quite quickly as well.

"But just getting outside in the middle of a storm ... body temperature can change, heart rate, blood pressure," he continued. "So there are a lot of things to monitor even within the hospital. During a transport all that becomes much more difficult."

Some 1,000 staff members -- doctors, nurses, residents and medical students -- along with firefighters and police officers evacuated the patients. Since about 10% of the backup power was working, there were a few lights on in the hallways. But still much of the work was done by flashlight.

"Everybody's digging in and doing what they have to do," Brotman said, describing the process.

Storm tracker

The hospital usually has about 800 patients, but it discharged hundreds over the weekend in anticipation of the storm, he said.

But no one anticipated the high flood levels, or that the generators would get waterlogged.

Kenneth Langone, the chairman of the hospital's board of trustees who also happened to be a patient there until he was discharged Tuesday morning, said that regulations require the generators to be tested regularly and that they've worked every time.

Langone said the hospital is in the midst of an "enormous" building campaign. The generators are going to be replaced in a renovation, he said.

"It's like when you renovate your home, you don't tell the contractor to put the older countertops back in," he said.

Live storm radar

During Irene, only one building was flooded, and with just 2 to 3 feet of water. On Monday night, seven hospital buildings were flooded with 10 to 12 feet of water each, including the medical school and the Smilow Research Center, which was built about three years ago.

"It had a very sophisticated foundation that was built specifically to withstand a flood, but it flooded anyway," Brotman said. "That's just an example of how stunning and rapid this flooding situation was."

How to help

rest at

.@mittromney - when shit hits the fan, party lines matter less then welfare of Americans @barackobama with gov christie #p2 #tcot


.@mittRomney a "risky choice" -- Source: Kentucky Lexington Herald-Leader, #p2 #tcot


.@mittromney : fake humanity, fake photo ops, douchbaggery @barackobama #p2 #tcot


.@mittromney Romney bought $5k of food for people to “donate” back to him at phony “hurricane” rally #p2 #tcot

You See Victims, Romney Smells "Opportunity"

OMG.  It IS Paul Ryan and the soup kitchen!

From McKay Coppins at Buzzfeed:

But the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. (The campaign confirmed that it "did donate supplies to the relief effort," but would not specify how much it spent.)

Romney phony relief event for Hurricane Sandy

Distributing birther-inspired anti-Obama t-shirts
at the "non-partisan" rally.

Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, "What if we dropped off our donations up front?"The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. "Just grab something," he said.

Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their "donations" to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest "Thank you."

No relief for you!

We've all been through it before. Grandma's getting old. Mom goes and buys grandma's Christmas gifts, or maybe mom even gives you a 20 and tells you to buy yourself something from grandma, then wrap it up for Christmas eve – and make sure you look surprised when you unwrap your gift in front of grandma!

And that's okay, cuz grandma's 90 years old and has a hard time getting around.

What's Mitt Romney's excuse?

Team Romney Admits "Relief" Event Was Staged for Political Reasons

I also found this part of the story fascinating. The Romney campaign admits that the intent behind the rally was swing state election visibility, not hurricane relief:

But Boston wasn't quite ready to lose a full day of swing state visibility with a week left in the race. So, after some deliberation, the campaign decided to use their existing venue in Ohio to stage a makeshift, and nonpartisan, humanitarian project. It would be a way for Romney to show leadership — and get on the local news — without looking craven or opportunistic.

They weren't willing to lose a day's visibility in a swing state, so they came up with the event and crafted it in a way that would still get them political benefit, but would camouflage the intent.  So, as I predicted, Team Romney saw Hurricane Sandy – saw the imminent peril of tens of millions of Americans – as a political "opportunity" to exploit.

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post.

And as the reports from the rally prove, Romney's "relief event" was a lot of partisan politics, and not much relief.

And keep mind, the Red Cross doesn't want these "donations."  The Red Cross specifically says on its Web site NOT to give it donations of goods.  It needs money and blood donations.  When people send goods, it requires staff time to go through, distribute them, etc – time that is better spent working on more efficient means of helping disaster victims.  And I quote from the Red Cross Web site:

Unfortunately, due to logistical constraints the Red Cross does not accept or solicit individual donations or collections of items. Items such as collected food, used clothing and shoes must be sorted, cleaned, repackaged and transported which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel.

It's the "Chinese Jeeps" of Charity Events!

Mitt Romney spent $5,000 on a political stunt when he should have simply donated the $5,000 to the Red Cross. But had he donated the money, it wouldn't have been nearly as good a PR event, and remember, with Mitt Romney, it's not about helping people – it's about fueling his ambition.

Need more proof? Jennyjinx on Twitter just noted the following:

@aravosis Why couldn't Romney have asked his supporters to write a check or plop money in a can?

The Romney people decided that you "had" to have food in hand in hand to donate, or they wouldn't let you in.  But if you didn't have any food, they'd give you some food they bought – food the Red Cross doesn't want.  Why didn't the Romney people at the very least ask people who didn't bring food to write a check, or donate cash?  They could have a laptop sitting there with a connection to the Internet, and people could have donated to the Red Cross via the Red Cross' own Web site.  But they didn't.  Because this event wasn't about helping the Red Cross or Hurricane Sandy's victims.

How long until Romney voters try to destroy this charity as well?  Then again, by intentionally impeding the Red Cross' hurricane relief work, they're already off to a good start.

PS Compare Romney's made-for-TV stunt with what President Obama did when visiting FEMA HQ this morning:

No TV cameras allowed.  But, what – you say – the President isn't trying to make hurricane relief a partisan media spectacle of opportunity?  Clearly, un-American.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

.@mittromney Now General Motors Is Ripping Mitt Romney For Lying About The Auto Industry #p2 #tcot

Apparently undeterred by the backlash over his false claim that Chrysler is shipping U.S. jobs overseas, Mitt Romney broadened his attack to include General Motors Tuesday. And General Motors was not happy about it. 

The dust-up stemmed from a new radio ad that the Romney campaign quietly launched in Ohio Tuesday, claiming that, under President Barack Obama, "GM cut 15,000 jobs." 

Here's the script, courtesy of the Washington Post's Greg Sargent:

Barack Obama says he saved the auto industry. But for who? Ohio, or China? Under President Obama, GM cut 15,000 American jobs. But they are planning to double the number of cars built in China — which means 15,000 more jobs for China.

And now comes word that Chrysler plans to start making Jeeps in — you guessed it — China. What happened to the promises made to autoworkers in Toledo and throughout Ohio — the same hard-working men and women who were told that Obama's auto bailout would help them?

(Listen to the ad's audio here.)

Like the Chrysler television ad, the radio spot is extremely misleading. General Motors' U.S. employment did drop by 14,000 from 2008 to 2011, most of the losses came at the height of the recession in 2009. And those jobs were not moved to China.

Unsurprisingly, GM's reaction was swift and harsh: 

"We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days," GM spokesman Greg Martin told the Detroit Free Press. "No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country."

Chrysler has similarly debunked Romney's claims. And both ads have been widely panned, with virtually no response from the Romney campaign. 

Which leaves us to wonder what Romney is thinking. Obviously, these ads are an attempt to weaken Obama on the issue of the auto bailout, which remains popular in Ohio, a crucial swing state. But assuming Romney is able to achieve this goal — and win the election — he will enter the White House on pretty bad terms with the nation's auto industry.


MITT ROMNEY: It's 'Immoral' To Borrow Money For Disaster Relief #p2 #tcot

Who knows what he's saying now, but last year, Mitt Romney said it was "immoral" for the government to borrow and spend money to pay for disaster relief.

Importantly, he wasn't just talking about the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which some conservatives say is a horrible waste of money. He was talking about "disaster relief."

Here's the quote and context, which comes from Grace Wyler's article on this topic:

In 2011, during the heat of the Republican primary, the GOP candidate said during a debate that he would support cuts to federal disaster relief as part of an overall plan to reduce the deficit.

"Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction," Romney told debate moderator John King. "And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?"

When John King interrupted to clarify, "Including disaster relief?" Romney continued, "We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all.(h/t Slate)

Yes, Romney's "immoral" comment was clearly referring to the debt we're piling up. But he was equally clear that borrowing to fund disaster relief is something that should be cut.

Now, maybe you think that what what Romney meant was, "Oh, of course I would keep federal disaster relief—I would just cut something else out of the budget to pay for it."

But if he meant that, why didn't he say that?

Again, that was last year, when Romney was speaking to a crowd that wanted to hear him say that he would cut disaster relief. Today, after a major disaster, Romney would probably correctly assume that a crowd would want him to say that he wants to keep disaster relief—and, therefore, he would probably say that he wanted to keep it. And, yes, just because Romney says something obviously doesn't mean he believes it.

But let's at least agree on what Romney said last year. Romney wanted to cut "disaster relief." Not FEMA. Not other government spending to pay for disaster relief. Just disaster relief.


.@mittromney - BREAKING: Reporters Shoot Straight, Destroy Romney's Fake "Storm Relief" Event #p2 #tcot

It should come as no surprise that Mitt Romney's "storm relief event" today in Ohio was a campaign event masquerading as a compassionate response to Hurricane Sandy.

However, what is surprising? That those mainstream pool reporters traveling with the Romney campaign reported the exact same thing in real time on Twitter.

Here's CNN's Jonathan Karl not pulling any punches by noting the anti-Obama wear being passed out at a non-partisan "storm relief event." Oh, and look, cans!

Here's Politico's James Hohmann describing the scene with surprising straightforwardness:
Here's The Washington Post's Philip Rucker, who was present and equally disquieted about Romney playing a biographical film at a "storm relief event," responding to NPR's Ari Shapiro, who shows off his press pass: