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Sandy Wreaks Havoc
Aired October 30, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: State of emergency. Amid Sandy`s devastation, governors, mayors, president motivate the masses to work together in a crisis they embrace (ph). What motivates first responders to do a job risking their lives? Are they thrill-seeking? Do they want to be a hero? Is there a fight or plight response they`re looking for?
Why do some stay calm and follow expert advice and while others panic and some freeze up? State of denial? "It won`t happen to me" mentality. Why do thrill seekers and others refuse to evacuate.
We`re looking at the aftermath and bringing you the human stories.
You have been watching the footage of this storm all day. If you`re like me, I predict that probably as much as one in five of us have been affected by this storm whether or not directly or because you have family there or because you have friends that you`re very concerned about.
Tonight, we`re going to try to make sense of all this. We`re going to try to dig into all this footage you`ve been looking at and understand what does it mean when a hospital is evacuated? What does it mean when you lose your home? What does it mean you`re running out with their kids when they`re feeling insecure and unsafe?
This is a show we hope will be for you. We`ll address anxieties, worries, concerns. I`ll be taking your calls what is on your mind.
The storm, of course, and its aftermath is not over. HLN Kyra Phillips can put this in perspective for us.
Kyra, what is the scope of the catastrophe that you`ve been reporting on and what new do you have for us?
KYRA PHILLIPS, HLN ANCHOR: Oh, Drew, we`re talking a swath of 700 miles. And I started -- I thought about that. How big is that? It is the state of Texas twice over. That`s the amount -- that`s the scope we`re talking about. You know?
And there`s good news and there`s bad news. The good news is we were talking about 2 million people without power. OK? That was just three hours ago. We just got word that in New York City, where there were 2 million people still without power, it`s now to a million, Drew. So that`s great news.
PHILLIPS: The mayor came -- yes, no. The fact that they are working that fast and they`re able to restore power that quickly is absolutely unbelievable. Now, the other --
PINSKY: Yes, I know we`re spending a lot of time going, oh my God, oh my goodness, look what`s happened here. To me a big part of the "oh my goodness" is how we`ve been able to navigate through this as well as we have. Really when you get to it, I mean, the leadership has been great, the response teams have been amazing. People have been for the most part following direction.
PHILLIPS: Can I tell you something? We learned a lot from Katrina, Drew. We learned a lot from Katrina.
PINSKY: Yes. I think you`re right.
PHILLIPS: And we saw the president of the United States speaking real early before this all happened. And we saw governors and we saw mayors, you know, coming before the nation and saying, look. You have to evacuate. We are telling you, you have to do this. This is what`s going to happen. These are the areas that are going to be impacted.
And you know what? They were all exactly right. One of the hardest things to witness: the area in Queens. Are you familiar with this neighborhood?
PHILLIPS: It`s the Breezy Point neighborhood.
PINSKY: Yes. I fly -- when I used to -- I fly to New York a lot. You kind of come into that area when you`re going to JFK. Every time I look at that and say what would they do if there were a hurricane? And here we are. I mean, just devastation there, right?
PINSKY: Did people get out? Were people hurt there?
PHILLIPS: Here`s what -- OK. Here`s the beautiful side of things and here`s the real rough side of things, because I know you like to look at things from both perspectives. The tough part to swallow right now is we`re talking between 80, maybe 110 homes burned to the ground. I mean, that`s everything lost completely. Firefighters were held at bay for hours because they couldn`t get to the fires to fight the fires because of the flood waters.
But here`s what`s amazing. No reported deaths.
PHILLIPS: I mean, that`s just incredible, Drew. And that`s because they were ready for this. They were organized, and the majority of the people, even though it wasn`t a mandatory evacuation there, which really surprised me. It was not a mandatory evacuation. Most of the people left and so they didn`t have to worry about making a lot of rescues.
PINSKY: Kyra, do you have family or friends that were directly affected yourself?
PHILLIPS: Oh, my -- oh, so many. Drew, I talked to me -- I went through fertility to have my twins and I went through NYU Medical. Dr. Jamie Grifo, you know, an amazing doctor in his field. You probably know him because you`re in the medical field.
And I texted him immediately because he`s a great friend of mine. He said, Kyra, we are so stressed about the power issue and the embryos, because, you know, all the embryos are frozen. The eggs are frozen. These are people`s babies that they`re hoping to have.
PINSKY: Yes, Kyra --
PHILLIPS: And he was working around the clock on that.
PINSKY: Yes. This is the part of the story that I want people to understand tonight. Which you opened by saying this is -- by the way, I`m holding something you`ll learn more about during the show. This figured prominently into hospitals. I`ll talk about that.
PINKSY: But you mentioned at the opening comment that the storm was the size of Texas. I mean, if it had hit any other country --
PHILLIPS: Twice. Texas, twice.
PINSKY: Twice the size of Texas. I mean, it basically covers an entire nation, (INAUDIBLE) something as big as United States.
The point being, there are stories in any of these states. There are tens of millions of people affected. We`re just going to hear so many different stories as this -- the magnitude of this emerges. Just this one story you`re telling me about trying to preserve the embryos in the face of a power outage. This is the kind of stuff that we don`t think about until there is a disaster.
Kyra, I want to stay with me and take a phone call.
PHILLIPS: OK. You bet.
PINSKY: This is Briana. She`s in California. Briana, what`s up?
BRIANA, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
BRIANA: My husband works for PG&E and about 150 crew members are going out to the East Coast right now. They just got out on a plane at 6:00 to help with the power outages.
PINSKY: It`s great. Hat`s off. You mean the PG is going so far as to take people from California and transport them out of New York to help out or is this volunteer work?
BRIANA: No, PG&E is recruiting people to go out there.
PINSKY: That is fantastic. Yes, Kyra, that`s the other part of this story that -- I know we`re used to hearing horror stories, but the stories of pulling together and community and heroics, they just keep going.
BRIANA: You know, there was another piece of video that came in when we were on the air just a couple hours ago. You`ve probably seen it of this nurse. OK? A nurse that worked at the New York Medical Center, probably her home was affected, her family was affected. Who knows what she was going home to?
And here she was carrying brand new babies out of the NICU. There you go. There`s the video. Oh my gosh! Seeing her --
PINSKY: And there`s another woman that`s with a critically ill, a nurse, with a critically ill newborn. You can`t really see it yet. She was actually holding him. And she was using this.
I`m going to tell you now what this is. This is an ambu bag. We squeeze this. This is what you use instead of a ventilator.
We`ve had earthquakes out here where our generators have failed and literally the nurses and doctors go running with these pieces of equipment to the tubes that keep people able to ventilate their lungs. And we go ahead and provide air this way. They would have to provide this manual, mechanical ventilation all the way down the nine flights of stairs into the ambulance and all the way to the hospital they were going to.
And, literally -- they`re down the flights of stairs you see -- literally doctors and nurses are keeping these little babies alive with their own hands. And monitoring them, God knows what they`re monitoring, and fluid and I.V. issues they`re having to monitor in real time while they`re moving people. It`s a monumental task.
What`s that, Kyra?
PHILLIPS: Well, I was going to say, looking at these pictures, Drew, they had no power. Those are flashlights. Somebody happened to take pictures while they were one by one taking these little itty bitty babies, you know, all strapped in with flashlights down nine to 15 flights of stairs, Drew.
PINSKY: And let`s remind ourselves. There`s the mechanical issues of them sort of staying safe. Their fluid, these I.V. are -- each one has its own fluid rates and has to be monitored.
It is -- it is far more complicated and anomalous. And by the way the I.V. units that monitor the fluid into the baby are also electrical and need power.
So, this is very intense stuff.
Now, I`m going to ask my control room. Is Kyra staying with me and I`m going to Bob?
OK, Kyra. You stay with me. I`m going out to HLN meteorologist Bob Van Dillen. He joins us now from Hoboken where I think we all know Hoboken, New Jersey got very hit very hard.
Tell us about that, Bob.
BOB VAN DILLEN, HLN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Good evening, Dr. Drew.
I`ll tell you what happened. The timeline for me is we started and rode out the storm in Asbury Park, which is the northern part of the New Jersey shore. That`s roughly 80 miles from where it came in. But then we rolled up the coast line, up the Garden State Parkway, which was open, it`s been closed earlier, it was open for us as we were going on up.
Looking at the devastation, just the trees down, big huge oaks down the entire way up the Garden State Parkway. Then we got to the middle one, which is a little inlay cove with a marina. Big boats stacked up, just stacked one on top of the other. We`re talking boats probably 30, maybe 35 feet big. They were not just yachts. They were also big sailboats as well.
Then we got in towards the Hoboken area. And then when we went over the bridge, and we looked down, it was like a grid work of roads that were just covered with water. And we snake the way in here, and you can see behind me, it`s one of the worst roads here. This is the corner of Newark and Garden --
PINSKY: Hang on a second, Bob. Yes, show us that. Go ahead.
VAN DILLEN: This is just nuts.
PINSKY: Yes. What went wrong?
VAN DILLEN: Can you see it?
PINSKY: Yes, we see it.
VAN DILLEN: This is stuff that popping up and down.
PINSKY: It looks like mud, I guess, you got the filth and things.
But, you know, did something go wrong? Or is this the nature of the geography of Hoboken with this storm that we could not have anticipated?
VAN DILLEN: I asked that question too, because the Hudson River is actually four blocks in the other direction. So, I was like, what is this? It`s not rain water, because we didn`t get that hard with rain.
It`s actually the sewer system backing up from the storm surge, pushing the water out of the sewers and spreading out.
VAN DILLEN: Now, apparently, that happens a little bit. With major thunderstorms, that can happen as well. But the people that I`ve talked to, the denizens this city, they have been here for 30, 35 years, said they`ve never seen it this bad either.
And if you look at this, I mean, it just smells like oil. There`s clearly fuel in this as well and sewage also.
PINSKY: All right.
VAN DILLEN: People are still walking in there.
PINSKY: Bob, yes. That is a piece of the story I want to get into because people -- I have not heard many people discuss what it means when the rats and the sewage material comes to the surface and whether people have to watch out or there will be significant danger from that.
Bob, stay with us. Kyra, you as well.
And, of course, I want to hear from you guys out there. The number is 855-373-7395. We want to hear the stories. We want to hear, you know, what you experience? Are you there? Are you stuck in your house? How did you get through this? What do you want people to know about your experience?
And we`ll be right back.
PINSKY: Thank you for joining us.
A reminder: what I`m trying to do here tonight is to make sense of the experience that people are having. The visions, the visual material we`re all being exposed to is shocking. What is the human experience really on the ground that people are having?
We`re back with HLN anchor Kyra Phillips and meteorologist Bob Van Dillen.
Joining me now is Anderson Cooper live in New York City.
Anderson, what has happened in the last 24 hours? And thank you for being here.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s my pleasure.
Really, for the last 24 hours we`ve been on the streets covering this. I was in Asbury Park when the storm actually hit, when it made landfall last night. Twenty-four hours, now I`m in the streets of New York City. I`m in Eight Avenue, about between 14th and 15th street.
This is an area near where I live. I live down in the village that`s completely without power. It`s been without cell phone service. You can`t get your e-mails unless you can get to a Wi-Fi hot spot or satellite truck. There`s 20 or 30 people around it right now with their e-mails trying to get their e-mails.
It`s a really eerie feeling. I mean, if you`ve been in a blackout or anything like that, it`s a very strange feeling. You know, there`s a big divide on the island of Manhattan right now. Below basically 30th Street, on the west side, below 39th Street on the east side is without power. Above has power.
And I`ve basically been riding my bike around today just kind of talking to people and seeing how the city is dealing with it.
PINSKY: Anderson, I`ve got to ask you one thing. I walk down through that part of New York City a week after 9/11. And I was stunned at people gathering in the coffee shops and the restaurants and going to one another to gather, to support each other, to get through the tragedy.
Are we seeing that kind of behavior again now in the face of this? And is it sort of a re-dramatization given that this is in the shadow of the 9/11 disaster?
COOPER: You know, it is that kind of same sense. It was different obviously for them because there was a sense of being under attack in a real sense of bonding together. But we are seeing that. I mean, we`re seeing people directing traffic, citizens who just took it upon themselves to do it.
You know, they`re coffee shops and things are not open because there`s no electricity.
PINSKY: Got it.
COOPER: There are a few restaurants serving up whatever food they can and seem pretty crowded.
But on the streets today, I mean, I`ve seen a lot of people just talking with each other, wandering around.
PINSKY: That`s that piece. Yes, that`s --
COOPER: Seeing what they can see and living their lives.
PINSKY: Right. Getting together and moving on, normalizing, dealing with reality. Anderson, I have to interrupt you. I`ve got to go back to Bob Van Dillen. I have to let him go.
But before you go, can you give us a quick forecast. Is this the end of the storm or do people have more they`ll have to deal with?
VAN DILLEN: Yes. It`s a great question. It`s now wrapping up through the Pennsylvania area. You still have snow coming down. So, it`s unbelievable.
But it`s also headed in towards Canada. And now, it looks like they`re going to get a tremendous wind field, but probably half as strong what we saw when it came around New Jersey.
So, yes, things are winding down. In fact, Hoboken, still some light rain but the wind is basically gone.
PINSKY: Bob, thank you so much. And stay out of that sewage. I`m going to talk to my colleagues about the potential dangers with that.
I want to go to a phone call. Julia in New York City. Julia, are you with us?
JULIA, CALLER FROM NEW YORK CITY: Hi, Dr. Drew. I`m here.
PINSKY: Go ahead.
JULIA: I`m in Midtown Manhattan.
PINSKY: You`re with Anderson Cooper and Kyra Phillips. What can we do for you?
JULIA: Exactly. Yes, I was on Times Square last night and it was not a typical (ph) view seeing Times Square and Broadway closed. We didn`t see anyone on the streets. The plays had been canceled. I walked around today a little bit, and you know, the plays -- Broadway is still closed. The shows are shut down.
And we could also see the Hudson River overflowing last night we were watching it from our window. We were told not to leave. I know some people had to evacuate their homes.
PINSKY: Julia, I want to interrupt. I want to interrupt and go back to Anderson who`s only a few blocks away from where you are as well.
Anderson, are people -- I was there during the Irene thing as well, where people sort of had sour grapes about that, saying we overreacted and over-prepared. Are they -- is that an ancient memory? Is that something - - or do people feel guilty for having felt that way? Because it seems like this time they got it pretty much right.
COOPER: Well, I think they did. I mean, the forecast was pretty accurate and I think a lot of people who didn`t evacuate this time kind of wish they had. I mean, there are people in Hoboken who are literally in dire straits. You know, 50 percent of Hoboken was under water.
I talked to the mayor over the last 24 hours, she wants the National Guard to come in. And she just got word the National Guard is coming in.
You know, over in Queens, there`s a community where 80 houses have burned to the ground, a fire that just jumped from one house to another house being carried by those high winds. And there`s a lot of people facing their homes have been destroyed.
My house is under two feet of water which is an inconvenience, but it`s -- you know, that`s nothing compared to what a lot of people are going through.
PINSKY: Your personal house? Hang on. Your house --
PINSKY: Anderson, your house yourself is under two feet of water?
COOPER: In Long Island, yes, in Suffolk County. I`m on a river and the river went to record depths. I`m out of power here in New York, but out there on Long Island, yes, two feet of water.
PINSKY: So what`s going to happen? Do you have to rebuild? What does a person do?
COOPER: I don`t know.
PINSKY: Yes, that`s why -- I see all these images of New Jersey and Long Island with the sand covering the entire community. I mean, how do people recover from that? How long does it take?
COOPER: I don`t know. You`d think a guy who`s covered as many disasters as I have would know what to do. But to be honest, I`ve never had it happen to me. So I don`t know. I don`t have cell phone service so I haven`t been able to call an insurance company. I`ve been working the last 24 hours.
So, honestly, I`m not even dealing with it. It`s like the farthest thing from me mind. I feel like, you know, we`ve got to get through this next couple of days in terms of reporting, and then I`ll deal with -- you know, whatever the house -- whatever`s left of the house.
PINSKY: You said the magic word to me which is I never thought it would happen to me, which is how most people think about these things as they -- well, as they plan for these things before they happen and enter into them. I think this is a big lesson here is it can happen to any of us. Mother Nature is in charge and we have to be prepared for that.
Kyra, I want to go quickly out to you before you have to go. Keep us a sense of what`s going on with the subway system. We`re looking at some dramatic footage of how badly flooded that is.
I`ve heard some reports it may take months or years to bring it up to full service. I can`t believe that, frankly. But what are you hearing?
PHILLIPS: Well, here`s a way to put it into perspective. It`s 108 years old and the head of MTA, the chairman came out and said, we have never, ever experienced anything like this. The devastation is historic.
And he wouldn`t come out and say how long it would take to fix it, but 8.5 million people use this system a day, Drew. And it`s completely shut down.
I mean, you know for folks that live in New York, they don`t buy cars. I mean, this is how they get around is the subway, the bus, they call a cab. So, it`s devastating with regard to the people that need to get to work and need to function, get their kids to school.
And on that note, schools have been closed down we heard for the rest of the week as well. So that -- you know, while the mayor has come forward and said, hey, you know, we are in recovery mode and we`re getting the power on. You know, we`ve got it down to a million people instead of 2 million now, you still don`t have the transportation available to folks that need to get to work and need to, you know, carry -- get to what they need to do.
PINSKY: That`s right. That`s the domino effect of all of this that has us all affected by this.
My daughter lives in New York City. She went through this no problem. But schools are shut down. She can`t get around the city. That`s it.
Kyra, thank you for joining us. Bob also.
PHILLIPS: You bet.
PINSKY: More on the superstorm Sandy as we`re calling her with Anderson Cooper. And, of course, your calls after this quick break.
PINSKY: OK. So we`re trying to get to the experience behind the images you guys have been watching all day. We`re talking about the feeling I thought it would never happen to me. Anderson articulated that specifically.
I want to go out to New York City and join, psychiatrist, Dr. Gail Saltz.
Gail, is it denial that has us all thinking that way? That our reality is too common place and cushy and we don`t want to prepare for the obvious?
DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: I think to some degree it`s healthy denial that we don`t walk around thinking all the time this could be it. You know? This storm, this bad thing could happen. We need a certain amount of that to function and go through our lives and not be overly anxious all the time.
Unfortunately, as you`re bringing up, Drew, sometimes that crosses the line and people aren`t prudent. They don`t ere on the side of caution because, of course, it can happen to you.
PINSKY: Gail, you have -- how many of your kids are living in the city now?
SALTZ: Two of the three.
PINSKY: Two of the three are in the city. And how did they do? How did you help them get through all this? What was that like?
SALTZ: Well, I think that actually it`s scary typically for younger kids, for my youngest daughter. It`s frightening because New York City really is the city that never sleeps. And it just seems like nothing -- you know, nothing stops New Yorkers. And so the idea that the power could go out or things could stop or we really can`t go outside and we don`t know what`s going to happen is frightening. So I try --
PINSKY: I bet. Always feels like -- Gail, I`ve got to interrupt you because I have to say goodbye to Anderson.
Before I do, Anderson, I want to say thank you. Whenever we ask -- we reach out to you, you`ve been very kind to join us here on this program. Strangely, it`s particularly with storm coverage. But we caught you on the middle of storms a few times. But we really do appreciate you`re willing to give us first of all your perspective and secondly, I always know you`re going to be there in the middle of all this. And perspective I just can`t get any other way.
One quick thing before you go. How are people feeling about the local leadership? From out here it looks like it was remarkable the way Governor Christie and mayor -- the mayor of New York City really handled themselves.
COOPER: I think so. I think people feel pretty good about it. We`ll see what happens over the next couple days as the adrenaline wears off and the drudgery of recovery begins. I mean, we`ve seen this before. It is not going to be pleasant going to be in the next couple of days when you don`t have power, three, four, five days on.
So, we`ll see how the leadership is then and how people`s perspective on it changes.
PINSKY: That`s a great point. People grow frustrated with the lack of the usual resources they have. They`re going to start blaming their leaders. Although, for the record I think really what they`ve done so far is remarkable. It`s remarkable that more people weren`t hurt and things are as OK as they are.
PINSKY: So, Anderson, thank you again for joining us. Stay dry and warm there. I know the temperatures are dropping.
Now, here`s what I want to do going forward. I`m going to keep Gail Saltz with me. I`ve also got Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He`s going to join us.
And, of course, I want to hear from you guys at 855-DRDREW5, 373-7395.
But we`re going to get now into how my peers look at the risks here. How physicians look at what`s going on, both from mental health perspective and from a medical perspective. What does it mean to evacuate a hospital? What are the infectious disease risk of, say, water supply or walking around with the rats and the sewers now are coming to the surface?
So, stay with us. Be back with more after this.
PINSKY: Today in Queens, a 23-year-old woman taking cell phone photos of hurricane Sandy`s aftermath was electrocuted and killed when she stepped on a live wire on the sidewalk. Many unexpected, I don`t want to call them surprises, tragedies brought on by this storm.
Mark Downey, his disabled dog, their four young children and the family are at home in Bayonne, New Jersey. The town is essentially underwater without power.
Mark, what kind of damage have you witnessed and how are you riding out the storm?
MARK DOWNEY, BAYONNE, NEW JERSEY (via phone): Well, we`re seeing, you know, various trees down. Debris everywhere. And the low-lying areas are flooded. I knew they had to get families out in a hurry. And there`s a curfew in the town at 6:00 here, not allowed on the street. They are strictly enforcing it. I think they`re afraid of looting. (INAUDIBLE).
My family`s doing pretty good. But today had to run up. I speak to some people this morning. I said I need a generator. My brother lives in Albany. I go six hours round trip to get generator, you know, the sort of we have, you know.
PINSKY: And once you get the generator going, what do you power? Do you power your refrigerator, you power your cell phone? I mean, it must be difficult to figure out even what to sustain.
DOWNEY: You`re absolutely right. I mean, people don`t understand when you have a generator you can`t have the whole house in. So, I mean, two hours on the refrigerator, two hours on that. OK, then we have to switch this off. Try to explain to the young kids we can`t have the TV on. We can`t have that. You know, essentials. So, because the power`s out, I`m going to have to drive probably 30, 40 miles to get gasoline. I`m going to have to run out at some point and get more gasoline. (INAUDIBLE).
PINSKY: Mark, how are your kids doing?
DOWNEY: They`re doing OK. I mean, you know, they`re hanging in there. They just really don`t understand it. You know, they`re like why is the power out? Where`s the normal routine? We don`t have school. Why is it dark all the time, you know? So it`s really hard. You know, plus it`s Halloween. It is like it is almost an - there is going to no Halloween, I know it`s a tragic going on, but when you`re a kid going on that`s all they really know. So, you know, we are trying to get them to be positive. It`s hard.
PINSKY: Well, I mean, hopefully -- and I want to look on the bright side of this. Maybe the family comes more together. There is learning opportunity. It sounds like you`re doing b a great job, Mark, and thank you for giving us a little deliver sliver of what it`s like going through this from one family.
Now, I have CNN Dr. Sanjay Gupta here. He was at Mt. Sinai hospital in New York City during a crisis where power was completely out. there were sick babies and patients that needed to be transported ad transferred.
Sanjay, what happened?
DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was NYU Langone hospital. You might be familiar with that, Drew. They have -- it`s right along the east river. And the way they described it to me is about 7:00 last night. There was really no flooding. By 7:45 to give you an idea of how quickly this moves, 45 minutes later there was about ten feet of flooding. And nothing really seemed to work, Drew. The primary power source was out. Backup generator number one went out. And backup generator number two really malfunctioned. So, they had a decision to make at that point which is to start moving patients.
PINSKY: I`m going to stop you and say at that moment, that means -- there`s an ICU I assume at this hospital, correct?
GUPTA: Yes. ICU. And Neo-ICU at that.
PINSKY: OK. So, literally, at that moment when the power goes out, you have to have nurses standing there with Ambu bags ventilating each patient as well as other staff monitoring. I imagine fluid management because all the IV machinery is out as well. Is that right?
GUPTA: Yes. I mean, you know, you and I both work in hospitals. You know they have some redundancy. So for example, battery powered systems of some sort. But not nearly enough to be able to take care of all these patients. So, you are absolutely right. And so they, I mean, it`s a pretty urgent if not emergent situation at the point, Drew.
PINSKY: And then, you are going to tell -- I`m sorry I interrupted you. You were continuing with a story about Mt. Sinai.
GUPTA: So I`m outside of Mt. Sinai now, and that`s where so many of these patients about 64 patients arrived including babies. I was following the story of a young baby 13-days-old, born prematurely, weighing just two pounds -- in the hospital and they`re so fragile. This is a patient who needed to be transported.
PINSKY: Oh, we are losing Sanjay.
GUPTA: My apologies. It`s starting to rain here again. Can you hear me?
PINSKY: We were gripped by the story. Yes, I got you again. Let`s try it one more time. that you had -- how old was the baby?
GUPTA: Emma is her name, 13-days-old, but born prematurely at about 26 weeks. So, Drew, she weighs just two pounds. OK?
PINSKY: OH, My God.
GUPTA: Her parents are at home in New Jersey. They are watching this all unfold on television. They hear that the hospital where their baby is at is going to be evacuated and then their power goes out at home. They have no idea where their baby is.
PINSKY: And no way to come in.
PINSKY: Oh, my goodness.
GUPTA: Bridges are closed. Roads are closed. It`s awful.
PINSKY: Let me try to get a quick call on here. It is Cindy from Pennsylvania.
Cindy, go right ahead. Cindy?
CINDY, CALLER, PENNSYLVANIA: Yes.
PINSKY: Hi. What you want from us? What you got?
CINDY: I was just wondering, Dr. Drew. And fortunately, you know, my situation isn`t as horrific as everybody that I`m seeing, but what happens in a case like the electric goes out? Is there a way that they prioritize? I mean, everybody obviously needs electric, but myself I`m on oxygen, a bypass, I have a newborn in the house. I mean, where do you go, you know, for help in this situation?
PINSKY: Sanjay, that`s a great question. What if you have people with medical needs in the home that require power?
GUPTA: It`s tough. And, you know, in hospitals they do generators and backup generators because they want to have some sort of source that`s not dependent on the outside power. But I just saw this with my own eyes. I know this wasn`t a great answer, but in this hospital there`s normally over a 700 patient hospital. They had some 250 patients there. The systems failed. So, you know, I think you try and set up I think a backup generator of some sort, you know, in case of a power outage. But it doesn`t always work.
PINSKY: But, I think that`s a great point. For those of us that were not directly affected by this storm to learn from this and have disaster preparedness including a generator particularly if you have older or younger people in the household that have medical needs.
Sanjay, one another quick thing before I go out here. Are people concerned about the infectious disease potential here with the rats coming out of the sewers and the sewage coming out in the up of the streets. Is there any particular concern that ways people can protect themselves?
GUPTA: Well, there are concerns. And we are hearing about that from the centers for disease control. Because what happens is sewage gets mixed with other water. It`s not a dignified way to describe that, but that`s what happens. You know, they say boiling water, you know, for the first few days until we get the all clear is always a good idea. It is hard to do if you don`t have power, but if you have gas. Using bottled water as much as possible. Assume the water could be potentially dirty for the first few days. I think there`s going to be an all clear at some point on that. But that is the better sense of judgment.
PINSKY: All right Sanjay, I hope you can stay with us to help answers more questions. The viewers, again, call us 855-373-7395.
Gail Saltz is still here standing by. And we will be right back after this.
PINSKY: All right. We want to talk about what people are experiencing in this storm. I`m going back to Gail Saltz in New York City. And just a reminder. This storm, obviously, did not just effect New York City. It just where a lot of my guests are tonight while the concentration, the population that was profoundly affected. But this thing covered the equivalent of two Texases. How many different states, 15 states or something like that. Tens of millions of people.
So Gail, let`s go to this question. There was some pretty clear direction coming from the local authorities. Why did some people refuse to listen?
DOCTOR GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: I think often people don`t listen because they`re afraid. And fear can drive you to be in denial, to not want to believe what you`re hearing, to get frankly a little more primitive. You know, sort of I know what`s best for me. And to hunker down and not want to leave your home and not want to leave your things, your belongings, your home base. That feels like the most secure. And so when you`re afraid, that that`s sort of the last thing you want to do. And even if someone`s telling you it might be the safer or prudent thing to do, it feels risky, scary. It`s going out into the unknown and not knowing what`s going to happen to your stuff which feels like an extension of you.
PINSKY: So it feels more complicated than just fear, though, Gail. It feels like a sense of the denial`s kicking in and a sense of I can -- you know, I can beat the storm. I don`t need to listen to people telling me what to do. Is that just a compensation for fear?
SALTZ: I think it is. It`s a defense mechanism for fear. Really the anxiety and like little kids when backed up against the wall will be like you`re not the boss of me. It`s sort of that I`m afraid but I`m going to put on the bravado and convince myself really I don`t need to be afraid by saying I`m strong enough to be here.
PINSKY: I`ve always said you`re not the boss of my, Gail. So, I`m going out to Karen Boss, interestingly, and her husband who refused to evacuate during the storm, Sandy. And they`re with us from, I guess fire island on the south shore of Long Island, New York. Are you there? Karen, why did you not evacuate?
KAREN BOSS, DID NOT EVACUATE, LONG ISLAND NEW YORK (via phone): I didn`t evacuate because when they never called for category 2, 3, or 4 of a hurricane. I didn`t feel I was any imminent danger.
PINSKY: So Karen, let`s - Gail, I want you to help me with this. Let`s go through that thinking. You had the conservative opinion of the experts telling you get out of there even though it`s a category one. We are advising to get out. You thought you knew better. How`d it work out for you?
BOSS: It worked out OK. (INAUDIBLE). We have our business here, our home here. It`s good to have a contact person here. We`re able to take care of any problems that could occur that we can handle. We have a generator. We have been through storms before.
PINSKY: All right. So but for the Grace of God you made it through. What is the footage we are looking at long side here? Is that people being evacuate? Is that what I`m seeing here? Well now, I`m looking at storm footage again.
Gail, was Karen a good example of what you were talking about? Or was she just dealing with reality on reality`s term and showing good judgment?
SALTZ: Well, I think she said what worried her most. What worried her most is that wouldn`t be somebody with her home and with her business. And you know, it`s an understandable fear, and it overrode any anxiety that they couldn`t manage it. So, you see, essentially a conflict was set up, right?. Listen to someone telling you hey the safest thing to your body is just to get out of here. And on the other side of the conflict is my home and my business and my livelihood and my everything is here and I will feel safer, you know, if I`m on top of that.
PINSKY: OK. Got to take a quick break. Be right back with more.
PINSKY: Unfortunately we lost Dr. Sanjay Gupta`s satellite feed. But I still have Gail Saltz here with us.
OK, Gail, New Jersey`s governor, Chris Christie, was blunt when it came to anyone even thinking about riding out the storm. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), GOVERNOR, NEW JERSEY: I read some joker in the newspaper this morning saying, you know, I`ve never run away in his fatigues. Say, he`s never run away from one of these. He is not going to run away now. Well, you might wind up under it, not running away from it. This is not a time to be a showoff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: So Gail, I would be inclined to listen to my leaders not only for my safety and my family but to also let the first responders do their job and get out of the way of people who really need help should that happen, God forbid. Is there something about the style of leaders that can increase the probability that people are going to listen to them?
SALTZ: I would say yes. I would say the authoritative leader, not the authoritarian one who`s very, very bossy, but the one who comes across as confident but authentic obviously reasonably intelligent but really it`s the authenticity. You know, the believability that makes people follow and listen to someone.
Now Drew, of course you would listen. You are a rule follower. You are a physician. And physicians usually are rule followers. But, you know, lots of people struggle with the idea of following rules and being bossed around. And people who are more susceptible to being defensive about it might not listen to any leader.
PINSKY: Tracy, when you try to boss me, Gail, then I resist. Let`s go to a quick call from Monica in Mississippi. Monica?
MONICA, CALLER, MISSISSIPPI: Hi, Dr. Drew. It`s nice talking to you.
PINSKY: Pleasure is ours. Thanks.
MONICA: Yes. I just wanted to say, I went through Katrina and I think people may lack of emotion - something lock of help afterwards. Because I know from my own experience. And every time there`s a -- they say a storm is coming I get anxious, afraid, and horrified.
PINSKY: There you go. So, may be, Gail, the way that -- that you for that call, my dear. How long do I have for Gail to answer this? About 30 seconds or so. Can anybody tell me? Forty-five seconds, Gail. How do we decide somebody is having an acute response for somebody that needs say, treatment for a post-traumatic stress disorder.
SALTZ: Well, right now, acute stress reaction is normal. So, some difficulty sleeping, feeling somewhat anxious, having some visual intrusiveness about what`s going on. But if it`s really interfering with your functioning. In other words, if you can`t go back to work. If you can`t take care of your kids, if you can`t ultimately get enough sleep at night. Then you probably need treatment now. But a percentage of those will go on to develop post-traumatic distress disorder. They`ve been heavily involved with the storm. And again, if you persist in having a depressed mood and feeling panicky and having these thoughts about it or nightmares about it and you start avoiding things that have any smack of a storm. Like you see the weather system and you can`t go there. Then you may also need treatment even if you`re functioning --
PINSKY: Gail, I`ve got to go. And reminder people that are previously traumatized, it`s earlier in out childhood say and that something like this happens, they`re at higher risk.
More calls when we come back.
PINSKY: Well, I`m supposed to be looking at some footage here. You going to air that for me? We have footage of a rescue. We`ll have to show it tomorrow. Very lovely. Because we want to really get the sense of getting into the individual experiences that are out there. We`ve certainly all looked at the collective experience today. And it has been massive.
Gail, thank you so much for joining me. Do you have any final thoughts you want to offer people?
SALTZ: The truth is that storms are one of the most common phobias and fears people have. So it`s not surprising that when this happens, it just really turns people off. I think what you have to know is that humans are incredibly resilient. And tri-state people are some of the heartiest that there are. So we will pull together. We do pull together.
PINSKY: There you go. I`ll be out there next week, so I will visit you, all. I will see you maybe this weekend, Gail. And hopefully, we will have you back again later in the week.
Thank you, of course, to Gail and all my guests. HLN`s Kyra Phillips, Bob Van Dillen, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Anderson Cooper. Again, thank you for Sanjay and Anderson for hitting out call. We asked for your help. We do appreciate it.
Thank you all for calling. Stop that please. We will be looking tomorrow at the storm and its effect on everyone across the country. And we will be back here tomorrow night to get into the specific experiences that people are having and how to make this not happen again to anybody else out there. I hope we can learn from this.
And a reminder. Nancy Grace begins right now.