Chaos as tornado struck Joplin hospital

A thoracic surgeon performs a mitral valve rep...Image via Wikipedia

The news yesterday that St John's Hospital was moved four inches on its foundations by last Sunday's tornado hardly comes as a surprise to Terry Burns, a surgery technician who was assisting with a hip operation when it struck. In fact, nobody who was inside the building at the time would argue with it.

What had been a standard Sunday afternoon on the operating theatre floor turned to bedlam after the order came to "execute code grey" – the signal to prepare for a tornado.

They had maybe two minutes before it hit, not even enough time to close up the wound on the patient. Mr Burns dashed into the adjacent recovery room where two nurses were lying on top of a man waking up from bladder surgery, in an effort to protect him. Mr Burns climbed on top of them all.


When it stopped, Ms St-Clair looked up to find the corridor, which minutes earlier had been as stuffed as an underground train carriage, completely empty but for her and her father. "It was so wild, everyone was gone," she recalls. Everyone else had been sucked through double doors across to the other side of the building.

As people were trying to evacuate the hospital more were being brought for emergency treatment. But, the hospital was no longer operational.

They are still looking for missing people in Joplin. Over 130 have been found dead as a result of the storm.
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