Power outages put critical care patients at risk

DIX HILLS - Many Long Islanders have been struggling without electricity since last weekend's storm, but for those who suffer from critical conditions and rely on life support, being without power could be more than a mere inconvenience.

Christopher Terezakis, 9, was born with a traumatic brain injury. Machines help him breathe, eat and monitor his heart rate, and each one of them needs electricity to run.

Terezakis' family has been without power since Sunday. His parents have been relying on a 1,000-watt generator that needs to be refilled every four to six hours.

"Every time we turn it off, we keep our fingers crossed that it'll start again," says the boy's mother, Dawn Walsh.

Terezakis is on the Long Island Power Authority's (LIPA) critical care list, which his mother thought made him a priority. LIPA, however, says it still has to restore main lines first, before servicing critical care homes.

Besides the power outage, the family's Dix Hills home had a host of problems after the storm, including wires across the driveway, a transformer fire and a toppled tree.

After Walsh faxed LIPA 179 times, crews removed the tree and the power lines yesterday. The utility says it plans to restore power to Walsh's home tonight.

LIPA: Irene damage more severe than initial estimatesLIPA: 90 percent of customers will have power by FridayCuomo: NY outages could last daysLIPA press conference on Irene recovery

MyPics: Hurricane Irene on Long Island

Report an outage to LIPA onlineLIPA Outage MapLIPA FAQ on Irene DamageDisasterAssistance.gov1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY)

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