Hospitals Prepare for Tornado with Life-like Drill

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With severe weather underway area hospitals took part in a drill Tuesday to make sure they'd be ready if disaster struck.

Organizers of the emergency drill at Mercy Medical in Rogers and 12 hospitals in six counties across the region worked to make it as real as possible.

"It really helps us to kind of get a better flow of what we have,” says Dr. Wade Henley, Mercy Medical Center Emergency Room Director. “Even with our real patients today we still have to prioritize and that’s what a disaster comes down to."

The staff still had to treat its real patients, while helping 40 pretend patients with head trauma, cuts, and broken bones. Some pretend patients were treated, while others didn't survive.

"I got transported inside on a backboard,” says drill volunteer Matt Oberholtzer. “And then I went; I basically stayed until they got me to a room."

Medical staff also practiced evacuating patients. Every hospital is federally required to conduct a disaster drill at least once a year. And organizers wanted to make sure everyone was involved.

"We have our EMS guys; we have our fire guys we have the helicopters, coroner’s, the county office of emergency management here with us,” says Hospital Preparedness Coordinator Chuck Trudo. “We tried to get everybody who would normally be playing together in the real deal together in the training environment."

And if training turns into reality, many here say they'll be better prepared.

"We hope that everybody comes away with a sense of this is really a team here,” says Dr. Henley. “We're trying to work as a team it's not just an isolated emergency room or a surgical problem everybody needs to be involved."