The Norman Transcript

News Features

November 13, 2013

Windy week

(Continued)

MOORE —

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.

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