Health Center News, Uncategorized

From Joplin, Heroes Work Hard Amid the Wreckage

By Amy Simmons Farber

More than 230 people remain unaccounted for four days after the deadliest single tornado in more than six decades barreled through Joplin, MO.  Amid the wreckage and devastation, there are many heroes — rescue workers, organizations, citizens — who are searching for victims, and providing care, relief and supplies on the scene.   Our eyes and ears of this tragedy have been Don McBride, CEO of Access Family Care, in Joplin, MO.  Don has been providing first hand accounts about conditions on the ground on the Missouri Primary Care Association web site.  Despite their own immeasurable losses (four staff members lost their homes) McBride and the courageous staff at Access Family Care have been lending a hand to victims, providing care, treatment, medicines and food.  Here are excerpts of his daily dispatches:

May 26: “Yesterday we received word that our clinic in the Ozark Center was destroyed. Today I’ll contact our project officer to begin the deactivation process…  Dr. Porte, our Internal Medicine doctor in Joplin, collapsed yesterday and was transported by ambulance. She is resting comfortably now. Cassville’s Family Nurse Practitioner Dr. Cheryl Dalton was in Joplin to volunteer with the outreach jumped right in to cover for Dr. Porte seeing patients all day. As soon as I saw Dr. Dalton, I gave her a hug and she just said, ‘I’m just here to help any way I can.’ It was such a blessing that she was there and our patients didn’t have to be turned away.”

May 25:  “We received news that the Missouri Foundation for Health was sending a check for $25,000 for relief efforts. Staff worked on plans to distribute the care packs and purchased dogs and burgers to grill for victims and rescue workers. Bad news came later in the day when the fatality number was raised to 122 and by the time they announced it at the press conference, it had risen a few more. They announced over 400 were injured. It’s amazing that the numbers aren’t higher, thankfully. “

May 24th:  We have four staff members whose houses were destroyed. All have found refuge with family. CFO Sheila Long and Human Resources Director Karen Bearfield will work tomorrow on developing an emergency employee assistance program for them. Many of our other staff had relatives who lost their homes and feel compelled to be with their families… Reports from those who have been in the field say they have never ever seen such devastation. Many are overwhelmed… Many are still without electricity and many traffic lights are not yet functioning. Every place I’ve been I’ve heard people discussing seeing body bags. I just found out late last night that my brother-in-law, an ICE agent, was part of search and rescue. He said he’s served in wars and never seen anything like this. They managed to move one wall of the demolished 15th Street Wal-Mart and found 24 bodies underneath. He said they have more walls to go. The official fatality toll as of last night is 116. That is expected to rise.”