Pre-Tornado Winston Medical Center Post TornadoWinston Medical Center
 
On April 28, 2014, Winston Medical Center took a direct hit from an EF4 tornado that demolished over 300 homes in Winston County and took the lives of 10 of its residents. Despite this tragic event, the Medical Center was able to protect the 125 resident and patients in the facility while at the same time managing to treat new patients who came to the emergency room as the result of their storm related injuries. Winston Medical Center accomplished this goal by following its established Emergency Preparedness Policies and Procedures. As a result, the Medical Center was able to report zero deaths and only on minor injury to the many residents, patients, visitors and staff who were in the Medical Center and surrounding clinic buildings at the time the tornado hit.
 
 
Winston Medical Center Nursing Home

In effort to prepare people for the potential dangers that lay ahead, the staff of Winston Medical Center began following the weather reports coming in early on April 28, 2014, yet no one could prepare for the real devastation that would ensue. The staff of Winston Medical Center reviewed policies and procedures that would prove to be accurate and lifesaving later that day. They reviewed when and how to relocate patients and residents into areas within the facility where they could still receive care but be away from potentially unsafe areas.

A few minutes before 4:30PM the Medical Center received notice that it was in the direct path of the tornado. Not realizing what this really meant or the power of the storm headed its way, the staff continued doing what they had been trained to do. As the weather sirens wailed and the wind began to rattle the windows, staff continually comforted the residents, patients, and visitors with words of encouragement. Soon after, the monstrous storm hit Winston Medical Center. As windows began to be blown out by the 150 mph winds and doors were ripped from their hinges employees knew instantly that this was not just a storm. "I was working in the ER and it was full with patients.  One of the Winston County Sheriff Deputies came in and yelled, "it's coming!"  I could hear the roof being torn off and heard things hitting the hospital," said Paula Harris, ER Supervisor. 
Walls came down, windows began to explode from the pressure and water started pouring into the facility.  Many employees say that they can remember the walls shaking and the ceiling tearing as the tornado hit.  Below is a video of the Winston Medical Center Emergency Room after the tornado hit.  

 
Dr. Michael Henry, the Emergency Room Physician on duty, noticed a patient on a stretcher begin to roll down a hall and towards the suction of the tornado. Reacting on instincts and training, Dr. Henry was able to pull the stretcher and the patient into a safe area to ensure that the patient remained out of harm's way and safe inside a secured area. What seemed like an eternity to all inside the buildings turned into a realization that in less than fifteen seconds the buildings where they had worked and called a second home was now a mere shell and nothing would ever be the same. The rain, hail, and debris pelted through windows and holes in the ceiling caused by equipment having been ripped away by the powerful destructive winds. After the storm had passed, the staff of Winston Medical Center, using lighting supplied by emergency generators and flash lights, began relocating patients to more secure areas of the building and sending out the emergency alarm that let other facilities in Mississippi know Winston Medical Center had been hit and would need to evacuate the residents and patients as soon possible.
 
 

Dr. Michael Ard, Dr. Sam Suttle, and Dr. Glenn Peters whose clinics on the grounds of Winston Medical Center were severely damaged, made their way to what had once been the hospital's Emergency Room. Upon arriving, soaked from the rain, they, along with Dr. Henry and the staff of Winston Medical Center, began organizing an area that could accommodate the anticipated influx of storm victims. Within minutes, patients started arriving at the Emergency Room entrance only to find out that the normal entrances to the Emergency Room had been blown away. The physician entrance to the Emergency Room and an interior hallway adjacent to the Emergency Room and Radiology departments quickly became the entrance to the ER and the triage area. Rooms in an old (built in 1954) surgery suite that had previous been used as storage became treatment rooms for the quickly arriving victims.
 
 

Back and side of Winston Medical Clinic-Main Campus Front of Winston Medical Clinic and Louisville Medical Associates

Within thirty minutes of the storm hitting the Medical Center, The University of Mississippi Medical Center Emergency Response team along with representatives of the Mississippi State Department of Health Disaster Team arrived on site to assist the Medical Center in transporting not only the patients that were arriving on site for treatment but the patients who were already on site to the other facilities. At the same time, the staff of Winston Medical Center developed strategies to determine what facilities and nursing homes had space to accept residents and patients and how they would get to those facilities. They reviewed the level of care needed for each person and included a record of their care so that their new physicians and caregivers would be able to treat them without any interruption. Ambulance and specially equipped buses were utilized to ensure the patients made it to their new location in a secure manner. The nursing home residents were relocated to the First United Methodist Church via ambulance and buses. The help of volunteers from across the state as well as our local community came to volunteer. "I called my church youth minister, Jeff Walton, with First Methodist about bringing the residents there to evacuate. Within minutes, Mike Childs and Dickie Capteron were on site to start loading residents on our church bus. Directly behind them were Charlie and Shannon Smith who brought school buses to load residents. I learned then that they had completely lost their home. I was amazed of their strength to continue to work as hard as they did to help others amidst their own hurts and devastation."  "Later we realized that we needed help getting wheelchairs and mattresses to the church.  Roger Caperton and John Brownlee came instantly with trucks and trailers and we began to load them for delivery.  Michael Vowell and Jerry Hemphill and his son came and volunteered the entire time.  There is just no way that we can remember everyone who came.  There were just so many people who came to help us and we will always be appreciative of that," said Fran Misso, Director of Nurses.

 
 
Nursing Home Residents being evacuated


The staff maintained their composure as they assisted the residents and patients into their method of transportation while realizing that some of their own vehicles were now located in the surrounding trees and fields. The tornado struck the facility around 4:30 PM on April 28, 2014, and all patients and residents had been safely removed from the facility by 2:00 AM on April 29, 2014.

On April 28, 2014, Winston Medical Center lost the buildings it had occupied for most of the last 60 years. At the same time, Winston Medical Center gained the knowledge that "it's what's on the inside that counts." The staff of Winston Medical Center utilized foresight, skills, compassion and most of all dedication to persevere through this experience. Winston Medical Center proved that it is a true community where its staff, patients, and residents can be confidant that every effort in any event will be put forth to ensure the overall care and well being for anyone who chooses Winston Medical Center as their provider.

 
Mississippi Hospital Association comes to help WMC Employees

On May 5, 2014, the Mississippi Hospital Association sent out the following message to hospitals across our state to help the employees of Winston Medical Center who had suffered loses during the storm:

Many have tried to describe the devastation left in the wake of the recent Mississippi tornadoes, but no matter what words are used, they simply don't seem to be enough. The pain and heartache have been acutely felt by the hospital family in Mississippi. Not only were hospital employees faced with the daunting task of triage and treating patients and comforting family members who feared the worst, but they also experienced their own grief and hardships.

While we don't have an exact count yet, we know that many hospital employees were directly affected by the tornadoes that swept Mississippi. Winston Medical Center in Louisville took a direct hit from an E4 tornado, and is still closed. The homes of hospital employees were totally destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Many others lost family members and close friends.

The MHA Cares Fund has been established to provide assistance to our family of hospital employees who desperately need our help. ALL of the funds raised through this effort will be distributed to hospitals in the affected areas who will then distribute it to the employees who need it most. Contributions are tax deductible and an acknowledgement letter will be sent for tax purposes.

Because of the urgency of the needs, we are urging those who wish to contribute to do so promptly. The first distribution will be made to affected hospital employees in late May.

We have seen an outpouring of support from around the nation for all of the victims of the recent tornadoes, but what people need most after a catastrophic loss is money.Please consider donating online today to help hospital employees get back on their feet. You can donate by mail, fax or phonehere.

For other ways to help, visit the MHA Cares website. One way to help today is to forward this email to any contacts that you think may want to help too! Here is a link you can share with followers on social networks or you can use the share buttons below.

 
 
Winston Medical Center was allowed to place some of its displaced nurses in the UMC Mobile Unit to work. Nurses were thankful to be able to still do what they do best...provide care to their community! The security of a job continued in their hearts. Pictured above is: Brittany Young, RN; Nicole Moody, X-Ray Technician; Amber Reed, RN and Kimberly Moore, RN.
 
HOPE COMES TO WINSTON MEDICAL CENTER
 
                   Convoy of trucks on May 5, 2014 on Hwy. 25 coming to Louisville to set up the temporary hospital and press conference
 

                                                                             Govenor Phil Bryant Press Conference

On May 5, 2014 a convoy of trucks traveled into Louisville from North Carolina escorted by Mississippi Highway Patrol. The trucks carried what will soon be known as home of Winston Medical Center. Plans to get a mobile hospital up and running were underway.

GovernorPhil Bryant was on site and held a press conference. This was Governor Bryant's fourth trip to Winston County since the tornado that devastated our community. Govenor Bryant along with other state, federal, county and city officials worked hard to help Winston Medical Center and the entire community rebuild and move forward.

Louisville, FEMA Opening Mobile Hospital after Hospital Destruction
(article was taken from WJTV website, www.wjtv.com)

Posted: May 05, 2014 9:14 PM CST Updated: Jun 02, 2014 10:27 PM CST
 
No x-ray machines. No emergency rooms. No hospital. This is the situation in Winston County after a tornado wipes out it's only medical center.
Now the state and FEMA are rolling out a temporary fix.
FEMA is preparing it's mobile disaster hospital which emergency crews from North Carolina drove down on a series of flatbed trucks, Governor Phil Bryant (R-Mississippi) said.
Winston County health officials are planning to take it over after about a month, Bryant said.
And some of those healthcare workers the same people who were at the -now- damaged hospital when that storm hit.
The National Weather Service reports an EF4 for tornado tore across Louisville last Monday. The Winston County Medical Center was in its path as well as hundreds of homes destroyed during the severe weather.
Emergency officials report ten people were killed in that storm.
At the medical center, collapsed walls hold up the debris tattered roof Where, last Monday, Dr. Michael Ard helped to rush patients to safe areas.
"But then the thunder moved right behind us and I check the door and heard the rumble and the whirring noise and we went back and road the storm out between two closets," Ard said.
"The roof came down over here. It held where we work," Ard said.
2 miles away forklifts bring together Kevlar cubes. Governor Phil Bryant said they will help return the area to normalcy.
"And normalcy means having a hospital. So you see behind us we are going to have a hospital," Gov. Bryant said.
"This is the first time this unit has been used and Mississippi is again making history. Particularly the way we decided to do so but the way we must do so," Gov. Bryant said.
The FEMA hospital will have five beds. Health officials say nearly 200 seniors and psychiatric patients will need to continue using outside facilities.
Dr. Ard said it took him about two days to 'feel' what had happened. He says he'll never forget the images from triage at the hospital.
"One little girl had a broken femur and a lacerated liver. Another little baby - just a very, very tiny baby - I just remember the blue eyes and all the lacerations around her head," Ard said.
"I remember specific people and faces. I don't know all their names," Ard said.
The next step for the temporary hospital will be getting the new facility hooked up to water and electricity, FEMA officials said.
Gov. Bryant expects the legislature to consider emergency funding in the near future.
If you have an idea for a story contact Jacob Kittilstad at jkittilstad@wjtv.com or 601-664-8839.
 
WMC meets with employees to discuss the future
 
 

Winston Medical Center met with employees on May 6, 2014 at First Presbyterian Church to inform employees of future plans for WMC and employment of all employees. Paul Black, Interim CEO told employees that once the mobile hospital is set up and ready to open that all employees that could be utilized would be allowed to work. "It is our hope to keep as many employees that we can employed," stated Black.

Winston Medical Center Nursing Home and WMC-Turning Point have no buildings to re-open at this time. The nursing home is the next priority for the organization. Lex Taylor, Executive Committee Chairperson stated, "The plan is to bring all labor force back into full force and to do so as soon as possible.  Our next step for permanency is our nursing home.  We will come back better, stronger and will be the best for our next 50 years of service. We realize we have 114 displaced residents who are out of their home and getting them back to our county is of high importance."

Dr. Sam Suttle, Winston County Medical Director thanked employees and mentioned what a great team WMC was and still is. "We have a vision that we will be in a better facility with the same top notch employees," stated Suttle.

 
 

WMC Re-Opens at its temporary location

Winston Medical Center opened its doors in its new location, 923 South Church Avenue (behind Teter's Floral Products/old Spartus building), on Monday, May 19, 2014.

Winston Medical Center is the first hospital in the nation to be provided with the temporary hospital. We were honored to be given this opportunity to continue to provide quality healthcare to our community.

The temporary hospital was transported to Winston County from North Carolina days after WMC was hit directly by the EF4 tornado.

 

View Video in FEMA Multimedia Library

 

WINSTON THERAPY SERVICES REOPENS MAY 19, 2014

 
Winston Therapy Services
Effective Therapy, Real Results!

 

Winston Therapy Services will re-open on Monday, May 19, 2014 at its same location at 530 East Main Street in Louisville. Winston Therapy Services is committed to providing quality physical rehabilitative services to clients throughout Winston and surrounding counties. Our goals include timely, personal, and effective treatment, delivered in an environment that encourages positive results. We have an exceptional staff that includes: Melanie Kirk, Occupational Therapist; JJ Ball, Physical Therapist; Jennifer McAdory, Physical Therapist; Ashley Reynolds, Speech Therapist; and Ryan Parks, Physical Therapy Assistant.

You’ll benefit from one-on-one care and personalized treatment plans tailored to meet your specific needs. Winston Therapy Services can help you successfully recover from a variety of injuries or conditions, including:

  • Pre & Post Surgery Care
  • Work and Accident Related Injuries
  • Sports Related Injuries
  • Back & Neck Injuries
  • Total Joint Replacement Rehabilitation
  • Strokes

Winston Therapy Services accepts Medicaid, Medicare, Workers Comp and private insurance.

Governor and FEMA head tour Winston Medical Center Temporary Hospital


Governor Phil Bryant and National FEMA Administrator Craig

Fugate toured the newly opened Winston County temporary hospital this afternoon (Monday) with local officials and hospital staff. The temporary facility located on South Church in Louisville opened at 7:00 am on Monday after three weeks of preparation following the April 28 tornado that damaged the existing Winston Medical Center. The temporary mobile facility was brought in from a location in North Carolina to serve the Winston County community until the Winston Medical Center can be repaired or rebuilt. Bryant and Fugate toured the emergency facilities, patients' area, lab and x ray departments as well as the four concrete storm shelters located on site. The hospital will provide 10 patient beds and 5 emergency room beds.



In the following press conference, Governor Bryant noted the difficulty in preparing the site in such a short time frame and thanked those responsible noting that 7-8 feet of debris had to be removed before the hospital facility could be moved to the location. Bryant said, "This advanced technology is operating and was ready for business at 7 am this morning and stands ready for the present needs of this community. If you need care - come here to this facility."

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate added that the scars from this storm are not going away anytime soon and noted that after the initial impact of the storm, much of the national press left. "FEMA didn't leave, SBA didn't leave - we are going to be here to work with the Governor and your local officials. This is a team effort and we are here for the long haul and won't leave until the job is done."


Mayor Will Hill, MEMA representative Bill Brown and Dr. Mary Currier with the State Health Office spoke to the crowd as well. Governor Bryant concluded the press conference with the following statement, " The opening of this hospital is a signpost on our journey; debris removal and restoring employment will go on until this community is restored to be safer and better than it was before the storm."

Senator Thad Cochran tours Winston Medical Center

U. S. Senator Thad Cochran made a follow-up visit to Winston County on Tuesday, May 27 to tour storm damaged areas. Cochran met with local elected officials and community leaders for a closed briefing on the activities and clean-up progress following the April 28 tornado that ravaged the County and City of Louisville.

Cochran toured the temporary Winston County Medical Center, residential areas along Eiland Avenue and a poultry farm between Louisville and Noxapater. Senator Cochran, along with other members of the state's Washington delegation, toured the area hours after the event that left 10 persons dead in the county and destroyed or heavily damaged hundreds of homes and businesses.

Congressman Alan Nunnelee visits Winston Medical Center

On Monday, June 2, 2014, Winston Medical Center received another visit! Congressman Alan Nunnelee paid a welcome visit to the Winston Medical Center Temporary Hospital. The 1st District Republican representative from Tupelo was accompanied by his wife, Tori, and an aide from the Washington office.

After touring, Nunnelee said he was proud of Winston County, town and county officials and both state and federal officials for bringing the temporary hospital to Winston County and restoring healthcare to its citizens.

Winston Medical Clinic-Main Campus re-opens in its new location!


After spending the past month at the Winston Medical Clinic-Noxapater, Dr. Michael Ard and Heather Gilmer, CFNP was able to return to Louisville to resume providing healthcare services at the new Winston Medical Clinic-Main Campus. The doors opened on Monday, June 9, 2014. Winston Medial Clinic-Main Campus is located in front of the temporary hospital at 923 South Church Avenue.


Oklahoma Hospital "Pays it Forward" to Winston Medical

      
It was a special day on Wednesday, June 19, 2014 as two organizations that suffered significant loss came together for support. On May 20, 2013, the Moore Medical Center in Moore, Oklahoma was devastated by a tornado that swept through the area. On April 28, 2014, Louisville’s Winston Medical Center suffered a similar fate.

This week, David Whitaker the CEO of the Norman Regional Health System, Anne Clouse with the Norman Regional Health Foundation and Jim Wade, a board member traveled to Louisville to “Pay it Forward” and provide support to our local WMC.

Hospital administrator Paul Black introduced Whitaker to the crowd of employees, dignitaries and members of the public. Whitaker spoke of his experiences not only with the Moore tornado but also of his experience in 1979 in Wichita Falls, Texas. Said Whitaker, “You don’t go through something like this without being marked for life. The key to success is how we read that mark and use it to become better afterwards.”

Whitaker also offered this advice, “Take time to laugh and cry with each other. Health care workers always stand ready to help our community in a time of need and sometimes that is at our own expense.”

The crowd cheered when Whitaker presented a check for $48,000 to Paul Black to be used for employee relief. 100% of the funds will go toward providing assistance for employees of Winston Medical Center who were affected by the recent tornado.

The funds were raised by employees of the Norman Regional System, the hospital auxiliary and the Norman Regional Help Foundation. WMC administrator, Paul Black indicated that a plan would be developed to distribute the funds as fairly as possible.

"Thank you will never be enough for this huge act of kindness from Norman Regional Health Systems. The appreciation felt, by so many not only for the monetary gift but also the emotional support and message of hope brought by this team, can not be put into words.  May God bless each of you at NRHS and again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts," said Lacey Vowell, an employee of Winston Medical Center.

Nursing Home to start contacting families for re-admissions
Lacey Vowell, Administrator and Fran Misso, Director of Nurses will be in contact with family members of residents over the next few weeks to discuss wishes for their loved ones to return to the nursing home.  Options and timelines for returning will be discussed with each family at the time of the call.  If there are any questions or concerns beforehand, please do not hesitate to contact Lacey or Fran at 6662-773-6211.  Winston Medical Center Nursing Home appreciates your patience as we work hard to get your loved ones back home!  

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