Although we are not directly involved in the care of patients injured in the severe tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, we have noted news reports that the Moore Medical Center was in the direct path of today’s EF 4-5 tornado.
In a piece of good news in today’s tragedy is that despite the hospital being virtually destroyed, because of the quick reactions and clear thinking of the hospital staff, all of the approximately 30 hospital inpatients survived the storm. In addition, CNN is reporting that the hospital also took in 300 townspeople who were frantically looking for shelter after local newscasters broadcast warnings that a closet or bathtub would be of little protection and safety.
This is really an amazing outcome and a testament to the professionalism and heroism of the staff, who most likely were the nurses on duty that day in the emergency room, labor and delivery, and inpatient wards.
Moore Medical is a small, local community hospital in the larger Normal Regional Health Center with patients likely hospitalized for pneumonia, COPD exacerbations, and hip fractures. During the middle of the day, the local physicians (having seen their patients on morning rounds) were likely back in their community-based offices.
Likely, most patients were elderly and not tremendously mobile or young mothers with newborns. Getting 30 patients such as these moved down even one flight of stairs to the cafeteria as per the hospital’s tornado protocol in 15-20 minutes means that there were nurses, cafeteria staff, cleaning staff, and administrators getting patients into wheelchairs or pushing stretcher onto elevators and then running back down the halls looking for the next patient to save.
Likely every employee of the hospital pitched in, but the people who knew the patients and how best to effect this amazing care were the bedside and ward nurses who had trained repeatedly for just such a scenario.
With likely little thought of their own safety, the nurses got the patients to the safest part of the hospital building structure which was the cafeteria – the only part of the building to not be completely destroyed in the tornado.
Then, after the storm was over, the nurses and staff remained on the scene to get the patients transferred to other facilities before thinking of their homes and families.
Nursing is uniformly rated the most trusted profession by the United States public. It is not hard to see why when stories like this come to light.
Today was a truly boffo performance and show of heroism by the staff of the Moore Medical Center. The nurses in charge of this rescue are a true credit to their profession.