NORMAN — Moore Medical Center is a total loss, Norman Regional Health System CEO David Whitaker said Tuesday. The Medical Center was destroyed by the EF-5 tornado that hit Moore on May 20. The community hospital ruins will be demolished. Whether it will be rebuilt remains in question.
“It’s not salvageable. We’re going to have to get what we can out of it and then it will be scraped off,” Whitaker said.
The Norman Regional Hospital Authority declared an emergency to allow hospital officials to waive bidding requirements for tornado recovery, salvage and demolition costs.
“We need to be able to move fairly quickly,” Whitaker said.
Despite the tragedy and loss, there have been miracles.
About 125 employees, 30 patients and more than 300 members of the community seeking shelter at the hospital survived without serious injury.
Chief nursing officer Nancy Brown arrived on the scene at Moore Medical shortly after the tornado hit.
“How many are in there dead?” was her first thought. She could not believe a woman in labor and 29 other patients survived without serious injuries.
“I’m very amazed at the staff,” said Dr. Darrin Smith, director of pharmacy services and performance improvement. Smith and his team surveyed the damage Tuesday morning at the Moore Medical Center.
Hospital officials have secured all of the medical center’s drugs, including narcotics kept in the central pharmacy. The drug inventory will be counted and disposed of in an appropriate manner.
Smith said unsecured drugs were an issue in Joplin.
Chief Financial Officer Ken Hopkins said NRHS is working with insurance providers and will explore other potential funding sources to recoup losses.
“At this point, it is too early to tell what the financial impact of last week’s deadly tornado will be to the Heath System,” Hopkins said.
Among its other services, the medical center specialized in cochlear implants. That will “likely be picked up at the HealthPlex,” said Kelly Wells, NRHS spokesperson.