Tornado injuries flood ERs

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Hospitals in Monroe, Lee and Chickasaw counties had their hands full Wednesday afternoon and into the day Thursday.
Gilmore Memorial Hospital in Amory was the hospital closest to the severely damaged town of Smithville. More than 40 people with tornado-related injuries came into the hospital, said Administrator Dwayne Blaylock.
“The majority were serious,” said Blaylock, with the first casualties arriving in the back of pickup trucks with doors and other debris used as backboards.
Conditions at Gilmore were difficult through early Thursday morning with limited emergency power available. The hospital had lights, life support and limited X-rays, but no air conditioning or CT scanner.
Several hospital employees who live in Smithville elected to stay and care for other storm victims.
“We had several who lost everything,” Blaylock said, and in one case, lost a mother in the storm.
Trace Regional Hospital in Houston had 27 tornado-related injuries come into its emergency department between 3:30 and 7 p.m., reported Administrator Gary Staten. Four were admitted; four were transferred to other hospitals. The remainder were treated and released. The Houston hospital also had 31 people come into its urgent care clinic Wednesday evening.
North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo received 41 patients through Thursday afternoon with trauma injuries from tornadoes. Four patients were transferred to other hospitals.
Pioneer in Aberdeen saw a small number of minor injuries connected to the tornado in its emergency department, said Administrator John Tompkins.
Both Gilmore and Aberdeen’s Pioneer sent staff into Smithville to aid rescue efforts. Nurses from around the area volunteered their expertise to Gilmore to help care for the injured, Blaylock said.

Tree of Life
- Tree of Life Free Clinic is providing assistance to people affected by the tornados at its 541 W. Main St. Clinic in Tupelo, regardless of their insurance status.

- Follow-up care for injuries, including suture removal.

- Tetanus vaccines

- Replacement of medication. The next clinic will be 4:30 p.m. May 4.