The Norman Transcript

News Features

November 13, 2013

Windy week



He encouraged staff to try to go home and not worry about work.

“That was my job,” he said.

Forty-four staff members experienced total loss of their homes, and 25 were displaced from apartments or place of residence. Eight volunteers also lost homes.

“We had 125 employees that lost cars,” he said.

The tornado hit on a Monday. On Wednesday, Splitt and NRHS CEO David Whitaker called a meeting with MMC staff and the leadership team. They shared stories, cried together, laughed together and began the healing process.

Whitaker assured each of them they still had a job within the system, Splitt said. Whatever else they had to worry about, a paycheck was not going to be a concern.

“Not a single Moore Medical Center employee has been without a paycheck since May 20,” Splitt said.

Those who did not move to the HealthPlex or Norman Regional moved, of their own volition, to other jobs.

Employees and leadership from hospitals around the country sent in donations.

The hospital received donations totaling around $400,000 to help employees with insurance deductibles and other needs. The heath system covered the cost of car rentals for those who lost vehicles.

Leadership had a conference call with Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Mo., to learn how staff at Mercy handled the loss following the tornado that hit that city.

“You can’t be prepared emotionally for what we experienced on May 20th, but my training as a leader with 26 years in health care prepared me for the response on that day,” Splitt said.

As the rebuilding process started, yet another tornado hit the Oklahoma City and Moore area on May 31. It was a violent spring, but Splitt had lived through violence before.

Splitt lived in the community where the 1999 tornado hit. His home was just missed but many friends lost homes. He spent that night at the hospital where he worked in south Oklahoma City and he saw things he’ll never forget.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
News Features
  • March Against Monsanto Protesters rally against agro giant Monsanto

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Rain did not deter protesters at the March Against Monsanto in Bricktown on Saturday evening. A button on one man’s shirt was typical of the attitude of many of the marchers, “I’m one of those people,” it read....

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Moore Med Cent Groundbreaking Community still grieving but looking toward future, new beginnings

    MOORE — One year after an EF-5 tornado devastated a core area of Moore that included the Moore Medical Center, the community gathered on the site of the former hospital to reflect and remember those who were lost....

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple mourns loss of young lives

    When the tornado hit, Dennis and Wilma Chastain were holding hands. On May 20, 2013, the couple left their home in south Oklahoma City in Green Briar Estates near Westmoore High School around 2 p.m. to make it to a 2:30 appointment near ...

    May 20, 2014

  • Interfaith group invites women to join

    Women of a variety of faiths brought prayers and dinner and shared peaceful dialogue recently at a Norman home. Malaka Elyazgi’s prayer sounded like a song tripping off her lips in her native tongue. The translation was equally poetic....

    April 28, 2014

  • DUal-state advance Tough field awaits Southmoore at dual state

    Southmoore’s history at Dual State is a short read. The totality of it is a first-round loss to eventual runner-up Muskogee by one point in last year’s tournament.

    February 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Myths about obesity

    The obesity epidemic is among the most critical health issues facing the United States. Although it has generated a lot of attention and calls for solutions, it also has served up a super-sized portion of myths and misunderstandings....

    December 28, 2013

  • How to tame an out-of-control kid

    Edith, a retired Capitol Hill staffer from Washington, was at the end of her rope last year over the mayhem her 5-year-old great-grandson Wayne was causing at preschool. “I was on speed dial” at the school, says Edith, who is raising two ...

    December 28, 2013

  • Experts decry ‘resolution dependency’

    One of the country’s best-known fitness center chains is launching an initiative to wean people from what it calls an over-dependence on New Year’s resolutions....

    December 26, 2013

  • The 12 annoying songs of Christmas

    It’s that time of year, when Christmas songs fill shops, restaurants and your home. While anything on repeat can drive you mad, these 12 tunes are some of the most annoying....

    December 8, 2013

  • Caring for a cut Christmas tree

    Cut Christmas trees must be watered and kept hydrated to last through the holidays and to prevent them from becoming fire hazards. This includes small tabletop trees....

    December 8, 2013