Dr. James Grifo said a generator kept the incubators in operation after the power went out Monday night at the NYU Fertility Center, but then the generator's fuel supply was threatened by flooding in the building's basement. Grfio said the generator ran out of fuel around 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, ABC News reported.
Grifo said he and clinic staff carried 5-gallon containers of diesel fuel up stairwells in the dark to keep the generator going long enough to preserve the embryos until they could be transferred into liquid nitrogen, where they can be kept indefinitely.
The center faced another challenge when a woman arrived at 10 a.m. to have an egg retrieved -- the culmination of a treatment in which the patient had just undergone two weeks of treatment with expensive fertility drugs.
Grifo said he drove the woman -- along with her husband and their child -- to another clinic, where the procedure was performed.
"It's amazing what people can do when everyone's on the same page," Grifo said.
"It's a testament to the people in New York who work in medicine," he said. "Some of our most vicious competitors offered assistance."
The storm forced evacuation of 300 patients at the NYU Langone Medical Center, where cells, tissues and animals used for medical research were abandoned because of power outages, ABC said.
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