The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 3, 2013

Work begins on temporary medical center for Moore

Associated Press
Associated Press

MOORE, Okla. — Work has begun on a temporary medical center in Moore, which was left without emergency care after a massive tornado destroyed the city’s hospital in May.

The Norman Transcript reported  that the new emergency and outpatient center should be up and running by Dec. 2. The temporary facility will have CT and X-ray capabilities and a lab, meaning that outpatient lab services can be performed in Moore while a new hospital is being built.

The temporary, modular structure is being constructed by Johnson Portables — the same company that built a temporary hospital in Joplin, Mo., following the 2011 tornado that tore through the city. The company’s president, Brian Johnson, said workers are ahead of schedule so far and plan to finish the structure in about two weeks. After that, crews will work on getting the interior ready for patients.

About 170 employees and 30 patients were inside the medical center on May 20 when the deadly twister moved from the nearby town of Newcastle toward Moore. Patients, employees and an estimated 300 people from the community took shelter in the building’s cafeteria on the ground floor of the main building as the tornado raked Moore.

Everyone who took shelter inside the hospital escaped without major injury. Throughout the city, the tornado killed two dozen people — including seven schoolchildren — and injured more than 300.

This week, Dr. Robin Mantooth surveyed the foundation for the temporary facility along with other hospital employees. Mantooth and others said that although the medical facility is temporary, it’s a sign that normalcy is returning to Moore.

“It’s really nice,” Mantooth said. “We’ve been waiting for this for a few months. Now we can see some progress.”

David Whitaker, chief executive officer of Norman Regional Health System, said insurance will pay to build a new hospital and to replace equipment.