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Embedded With the Elderly on Coney Island

A family of Jewish doctors work to save lives after Hurricane Sandy

Adam Chandler
November 08, 2012
Coney Island Following Hurricane Sandy(NYObserver)
Coney Island Following Hurricane Sandy(NYObserver)

The New York Daily News had an incredible story yesterday about the Katzes, a doctor and her two children in medical school, who have embedded themselves in a housing development near Coney Island, where some of the worst devastation from Hurricane Sandy has occurred. The 6,000 residents of the Warbasse Houses, many of them seniors, are still without power and heat as an arctic storm dumped snow across New York last night.

“I feel so sorry. So many people don’t know what is happening,” said Victoria Katz said. “People don’t understand why they have to live like this.”

The Katz children — 30-year-old Jacob, who is a fourth-year medical student at the American University of Antigua, and 34-year-old Iya, who is a first-year medical student at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine — rotate shifts climbing up and down 24-story buildings checking on residents.

The trio has treated more than a hundred people since Sandy hit last Monday.

The Katzes and volunteers like them continue their efforts in the dark and cold across Brooklyn and New Jersey. For many residents, it still remains unclear when the power and heat will be restored.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.