City sets up database to reunite nursing patients displaced by Sandy
Superstorm Sandy displaced thousands of New Yorkers who had to flee flood-prone areas, but the city has a process to help those who couldn't easily find their way back.
The Department of Health has a database of the more than 2,100 patients that had to evacuate nursing homes to other long term care facilities during the storm.
Dr. Patsy Yang, a DOH commissioner, said the department rushed to catalog those patients because many of them couldn't give thecontact information for relatives and there would be some that would fall through the cracks.
"What we didn't want to do is lose track of where these long-term care patients went," she said.
Family members still searching for lost loved ones can call 311 and provide an operator with a name, birth year and the facility the patient resided at before the storm. Yang said the system, which the department created as the storm hit, has proved successful as many relatives easily found their hospitalized family members.
Joseph Guzman, of Woodhaven, said he and his mother-in-law searched for her nephew who lived at a Rockaway nursing home for more than a week.
But after a call to a 311 operate, the family found out that the missing 63-year-old man, who is mentally ill, was in a Bronx facility.
"Trying to locate that one man was like trying to find a needle in a haystack," he said.