Sandy forces mass evacuation from NY hospital

Details are emerging of how rescuers and staff at New York University Langone Medical Center, some making 10 to 15 trips down darkened stairwells, undertook the 15-hour evacuation.

Among the first out were 20 babies in neonatal intensive care, some on battery-powered respirators.

"Everyone here is a hero," Dr Bernard Birnbaum, a senior vice president at Tisch Hospital, the flagship at the NYU medical complex, told exhausted crews as he released all but essential employees late on Tuesday morning. "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

More than two dozen ambulances from around the city lined up around the lower Manhattan block near the East River to transport the sick to Mount Sinai Hospital, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, St Luke's Hospital, New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJ).