When a snarling Hurricane Sandy knocked the lights out at Bellevue Hospital Center on that Monday night, the staff murmured a collective chant: “One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi … .” We’d been told that if the electricity came back on before we hit “ten-Mississippi,” then the backup generators were working fine. A communal sigh was heaved when the count stopped short of double digits. Ventilators and intravenous (IV) pumps hummed on without a hitch. Downstairs, however, water was pouring into the basement, inundating the elevator shafts and disabling all 32 elevators.
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