Moore Medical Center Staff Bravely Faced Tornado’s Direct Hit

norman_regional_health_system_logo1When a natural disaster such as a tornado strikes a major medical facility, it removes the key “go-to” place that most people turn to for medical assistance, shelter or use as an unofficial meeting place to check on loved ones and neighbors. In towns like Moore, Oklahoma devastated by the May 20th, 2013 afternoon tornado, or Joplin, Missouri that suffered a catastrophic tornado two years prior, the main hospital in these areas was in the tornado’s direct path and sustained tremendous damage.

Though we in healthcare understand intellectually that medical facilities are not exempt from physical disaster, we generally practice our disaster drills with the implicit assumption that we will be assisting the public at the hospital — rather than the unthinkable, where the hospital could be directly hit by a tornado.

When disasters strike medical centers, hospital staff must deal quickly with different obstacles, which can involve power outages, a higher than average number of critically injured patients as well as a shortage of supplies. During this time clinicians are also asked to simultaneously become caretakers and first responders. Additionally, there is a need to balance the evacuation of patients while still giving aid to the severely wounded.

This was a challenge that the Moore Medical Center staff, which is part of the Norman Regional Health System located in south central Oklahoma met yesterday in the town of Moore, Oklahoma. All of the patients and hospital staff of this 46-bed acute care hospital survived the destructive twister. This is a shining example of the courage and ability of healthcare workers to continue to deliver quality care in times of crisis.

This catastrophe reminds us that in the rare times when disasters strike a hospital, it’s really the human element of patient care as opposed to the level of equipment or technology present at the facility that initially saves lives and cares for the injured.

All of us at MD Buyline want to extend our thoughts and prayers to the residents of Moore, Oklahoma and applaud the efforts of first responders. We also tip our hats to the staff at Moore Medical Center for their unwavering efforts in providing life-preserving care to their patients as they endured the May 21, 2013 disaster.

Lori Webb, BAAS R.T. (R)
ABOUT THIS EXPERT
Lori Webb, BAAS R.T. (R), Clinical Analyst — Ms. Webb joined MD Buyline in 2008 and has an extensive 25-year background in radiology. She assists hospitals and healthcare facilities with purchasing considerations, product research and comparisons on analog and digital radiographic equipment and radiology IT systems, as well as radiology support items. Ms. Webb graduated from El Centro College with an associate degree in applied sciences (radiologic technology) and a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences from Lamar University. She is registered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.