Hurricane Sandy's Aftermath: How the Super Storm Affected the Center

On October 29 2012, New York City was hit by Hurricane Sandy which caused severe flooding in the low-lying areas of Manhattan, including Kips Bay where the NYU Langone Medical Center is located. Despite significant losses of equipment in the basement of our medical center (including 4 clinical MRI systems), our imaging research operations are in full swing and our Department of Radiology is actually poised to emerge stronger in the wake of the storm.

Bernard and Irene Schwartz Center for Biomedical Imaging

None of the human imaging equipment in our Bernard and Irene Schwartz Center for Biomedical Imaging was damaged and, thanks to an active team effort, all our scanners were ministered to and remained intact though the subsequent week without power.

Though four clinical MR scanners and a dual-energy CT scanner were lost, we have re-engineered our clinical operations and are now operating at normal clinical scan volumes. Three mobile MR scanners have been brought into service (Siemens MAGNETOM Avanto). Moreover, we have managed to streamline our imaging protocols and incorporate new rapid imaging sequences from our research programs, resulting in marked increases in efficiency. In other words, the storm has in fact advanced our translational research mission, providing a powerful impetus for rapid clinical evaluation of new research developments.

Our techs at their new workplace inside the mobile MRI units.

These increases in efficiency have enabled us to preserve research scan time in full on three of our four research MR scanners at the CBI, and the time currently being used for clinical scanning on the fourth scanner will be released for research as we bring new scanners online.

In a further boost to our translational research mission, our clinical faculty are now based in the same building as our researchers, with whom they regularly share coffee, conferences and ideas. Taking advantage of our new proximity, we have initiated cross-cutting symposia on unsolved clinical problems and useful research tools.

Animal Imaging Facilities

The Skirball animal imaging facility houses a 7 Tesla Bruker animal MR scanner located behind a pathogenic barrier, together with RF coils and other ancillary equipment, and a complete mouse handling system. Though a new animal MR scanner was lost in Hurricane Sandy, additional research time has been made available on the Skirball scanner until we can solidify our plans for recovery and reinstallation of animal imaging equipment. A micro-PET/CT scanner was undamaged in the storm, and is awaiting installation in space soon to be determined.


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Philanthropic Support

We gratefully acknowledge generous support for radiology research at NYU Langone Health from:
• The Big George Foundation
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler
• Bernard and Irene Schwartz

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