UPDATE 3-NY's Bellevue Hospital evacuates about 500 patients

Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:48pm EDT
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* Several New York City hospitals taking Bellevue patients

* National Guard assisting with evacuation

* Four other New York hospitals already evacuated

By Bill Berkrot and Michael Erman

NEW YORK, Oct 31 (Reuters) - New York City's Bellevue Hospital Center, which has been operating on backup generators since massive storm Sandy pummeled the city, is being evacuated, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Wednesday.

About 500 patients at the city hospital near the East River in Manhattan are affected. Bellvue has one of the busiest emergency departments in the city.

Several area hospitals, including The Mount Sinai Hospital and St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, have agreed to take some of Bellevue's patients.

"We learned this morning that Bellevue will now have to evacuate because of damage that it has sustained," Bloomberg told a news conference.

"They didn't think the damage was that bad, and they had a generator going. But the bottom line is when they got into the basement they realized there was more damage," Bloomberg said.   Continued...