NORMAN — News about the recent tornado damage to Moore Medical Center struck a nerve with employees at a Georgia hospital that was wiped out in 2007 by an EF-3 tornado.
Marcus Johnson, marketing and public relations director for Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Ga., said the scene from Moore “looked eerily similar to how our hospital looked” before it was rebuilt in 2011.
Johnson said that special connection shared by staffers at the southwest Georgia community hospital and at Moore Medical Center spurred an outpouring of support. Johnson said Phoebe Sumter employees are raising money for donations and stand ready to share their expertise about how to “bounce back.”
“We received so much support from people all across the state, the nation and even the world, especially from the hospital and medical community,” Johnson said. “As a result, anytime another storm hits and a hospital is damaged, we want to help them just like so may people helped us in 2007.”
Johnson said he has spoken with Norman Regional Health Foundation officials, which is helping Moore Medical Center employees impacted by the EF-5 tornado that struck central Oklahoma on May 20. He said donations being collected from hospital workers there and a banner bearing personal messages now hanging in Phoebe Sumter’s cafeteria should be sent to Norman by the end of the week.
“We know how to bounce back, and we are willing to share our expertise with Moore Medical Center and its staff,” Johnson said. “We want them to know we are praying for them and will stand with them as they work their way through this.”
Kelly Wells, a spokeswoman for Norman Regional Health System, said the outpouring of support “has just been incredible.” Moore Medical Center is part of Norman Regional Health System.
“We began getting calls just as soon as the tornado hit with people offering significant financial contributions and other assistance for our employees and the hospital,” Wells said, noting General Electric donated two ultrasound machines. “The medical community has really rallied around us to help our employees and our hospital — we are so grateful.”
Moore Medical Center, which officials said Tuesday would be razed, and Phoebe Sumter are just two of at least four hospitals that have sustained tornado damage during recent years.
St. John’s Hospital in Joplin, Mo., took a direct hit May 22, 2011, from an EF-5 tornado that killed 158 people and leveled much of the southwest Missouri city.
A March 19 tornado that touched down in Edmond damaged a wellness center being built by Mercy Hospital. A statement released by Mercy Hospital officials a day before the deadly tornado struck Moore Medical Center, noted damage of the incomplete structure located at East 15th Street and Interstate 35 included broken windows and roof damage.
Johnson said it took four years to rebuild Phoebe Sumter. Even though it “seems dark right now,” Johnson said Moore Medical Center and its staff will overcome the adversity just like Phoebe Sumter and its employees did.
Wells said Moore Medical Center employs several people impacted by the May 20 tornado. Norman Regional Health System, she said, has made a commitment to help those employees get back to work after they take care of their immediate needs during the recovery.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.