Amidst Adversity, Patients Came First

Mega Aid’s Hurricane Disaster Response

When Hurricane Sandy struck New York City in 2012, the densely populated Coney Island community in South Brooklyn was hit hard.  For those with chronic medical conditions without needed prescription medications, their health and well being was in jeopardy:

  • Residents in high rise buildings were without power or elevators
  • Public transit had ceased
  • Basements had flooded, neighborhoods were surrounded by standing water
  • Caregivers couldn’t reach and assist their infirmed loved ones.

The many older residents of Surf Manor were understandably fearful.  They had been hastily evacuated from this local, long-term care facility to a temporary shelter.  Many found themselves without a sufficient supply of their critical care medications.

The Mega Aid pharmacy itself was largely destroyed by flooding and collapsed walls, and much of its drugs and merchandise were looted or underwater.  Despite this mind-numbing situation, management and staff felt morally obliged to do all they could to help and serve their community.

Although their own personal lives were also turned upside down, the men and women of Mega Aid understood just how important it was to step-up and meet the post-Sandy challenges before them.  Many of their patients had relied on Mega Aid’s personal service and knowledgeable clinical counselling since the store first opened in 2007.  They knew these patients would surely be counting on them in the coming days and weeks of hardship and stress.

The Mega Aid team acted quickly.  One group recovered salvageable supplies from the pharmacy store.  Another group worked to retrieve patient records from backup computer systems.  The store’s manager appealed for help directly to the New York State Board of Pharmacy.

Understanding the severity of the situation, the Board worked with Mega Aid, and allowed the pharmacy to quickly reopen and operate from a mobile trailer.  Working 18-hour days, and teaming with both FEMA and NYPD, employees entered flooded neighborhoods to deliver insulin to diabetic patients.  They climbed darkened steps to the 20th floor in high-rise apartments, delivering much-needed blood pressure medications.

At the temporary shelter for Surf Manor residents, Pharmacists set-up a clinical counseling desk, and did whatever it took to make sure every resident received the medications and clinical advice they needed.

This was a very difficult time for all of Mega Aid’s patients, in particular, for the displaced Surf Manor patients and their families.  For these folks, Mega Aid was a beacon of light, a safe harbor, and the pharmacy that put their health and well being first.  Today, nearly all of those same patients still count on Mega Aid to dispense their prescriptions, to check on drug interactions, for their vaccines, and to advise them on healthy diet and lifestyle choices.

The Mega Aid team naturally felt pretty good about helping so many of their fellow New Yorkers.  But they were also rightfully quite proud of themselves on another level.  For the preceding five years, they’d focused on bringing a patient-first, comprehensive approach to clinical services.

They’d established a unique program of patient wellness offerings, and worked tirelessly to drive patient adherence to their prescribed treatment plan.

But now, post Hurricane Sandy, with new patients and physicians calling weekly, literally from every borough of the great city of New York City, they came to realize their selflessness had “raised the bar” for pharmacy performance, reliability, and personalized patient care.

They realized the word had spread from south Brooklyn to hospitals and clinics across the city.  Mega Aid had finally distinguished itself as a truly unique and special pharmacy, whose value to New Yorkers is firmly rooted in its commitment to patient care.