The Norman Transcript

Moore Strong - Six month later

November 20, 2013

Moore Medical Center executive recounts whirlwind first week on the job

MOORE — Richie Splitt started work as Moore Medical Center’s top executive on May 13. Seven days later on May 20, an EF-5 tornado destroyed the Moore facility along with the cars of every Moore Medical employee and doctor who was at the hospital that day.

Splitt came to the Norman Regional Health System with 26 years of experience. As the chief administrator for MMC and the new HealthPlex in Norman, he spent the first week on the job just meeting the employees under his care.

“That week of the 13th through the 17th was hospital week, so we had a number of things going on,” Splitt said. “Employee forums and the

‘introduction of Richie’ to the staffs of Moore Medical and the HealthPlex.”

The events were happy affairs, some involving burgers or popcorn, he remembered. As a native Oklahoman who had grown up in south Oklahoma City, attended Moore schools, and worked in the Oklahoma City greater metro health community, he saw many familiar faces that first week on the job.

“It was a very welcoming staff,” he said. “It felt like home.”

On May 20, Splitt was attending an executive meeting at Norman Regional Health System’s Porter campus. The leadership staff heard the weather warnings and had a television on as a precaution. As the severity of the storm became clear, attention shifted to the events unfolding on TV.

“We abandoned our meeting and began watching the storm as it developed,” Splitt said.

Being new on the job, Splitt didn’t yet have cell phone numbers of his staff, but he found a number and called to check on his team at Moore Medical.

“We were on alert — that stage where you prepare to move the patients,” he said. “I was assured we were in good order.”

Volunteers had been sent home at noon. All patients except a woman in labor had been moved to the cafeteria. Three staff members stayed with her and sheltered in place.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Moore Strong - Six month later
  • tornadomom2.jpg Mom: ‘Twister’ baby healthy, happy

    MOORE — For most Oklahoma residents Nov. 20 marks the somber six-month anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that tore through Moore. But for one mother, the date symbolizes new life....

    November 24, 2013 2 Photos

  • duck.JPG Tornado duck to face winter alone

    MOORE — Some residents are worried about a feathered tornado survivor who is struggling with the falling temperatures....

    November 24, 2013 1 Photo

  • Moore Tornado First responders relive harrowing day

    As the holiday season approaches and thoughts of food and family are on many people’s minds, it’s almost hard to believe there was so much chaos and heartbreak in Moore just six months ago. But the city continues to push on.

    Click here for more stories from our special section remembering the six-month anniversary of the May 20 tornado.

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Moore Tornado Revisiting the path of destruction

    MOORE — Driving down 19th Street in Moore, people who have never visited the city may have a hard time seeing how much the city has changed in the last six months. From the I-35 exit going south, thriving businesses can be seen....

    November 20, 2013 2 Photos

  • warrenafter Warren Theatre larger than life survivor of storm

    MOORE — The sirens went off in Moore around 2:30 p.m., Pat Murphy, general manager of Warren Theatre remembered. “We got everybody out of the theaters and put them into the hallways,” Murphy said. Theater records indicated 200 tickets ...

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Moore Schools, Ad Valorem-Superintendent Robert Romines Moore Schools hopeful as ad valorem statements approach

    MOORE — Moore Public School officials remain hopeful that the school system won’t suffer from a loss of property tax after the devastating May 2013 tornado. In fact, current figures suggest that Moore schools may benefit from a growth from ...

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Business coming back ‘stronger and better’

    When Jerry Mosley looks out the window of his small office in a cramped trailer that is now Control Flow Inc.’s Oklahoma headquarters, he can see clearly the pieces of the horrific past that forced him into the temporary lodging....

    November 20, 2013

  • As Moore rebuilds, survivors still face loss

    MOORE — Six months after the May 20 tornado, Moore is rebuilding at a rapid pace. However, for many who lost everything in the storm recovery is an uphill battle....

    November 20, 2013

  • Cars In Moore Medical Center Moore Medical Center executive recounts whirlwind first week on the job

    MOORE — Richie Splitt started work as Moore Medical Center’s top executive on May 13. Seven days later on May 20, an EF-5 tornado destroyed the Moore facility along with the cars of every Moore Medical employee and doctor who was at the ...

    November 20, 2013 3 Photos

  • Moore Tornado Moore city manager said business is starting to return to normal

    MOORE — The view from Steve Eddy’s office is quite impressive. As far as the eye can see, there are blue skies overlooking a crisp November morning. Cars just a few feet away rush to their destinations. And business around city hall seems ...

    November 20, 2013 2 Photos

Online Features from the May tornado
Facebook