Healthcare: St. John’s to open mobile hospital

By MATTHEW CLARK for The Morning Sun

JOPLIN, Mo. — On Wednesday, during a press conference outside a damage-ridden St. John’s Regional Medical Center, St. John’s president Gary Pulsipher said that the hospital “is here for the long term.”

A week after an EF-5 tornado ripped through the southern half of Joplin, becoming one of the deadliest touch-downs in recent history, the hospital, which sustained significant damage, will start working inside a mobile hospital across from its damaged campus.

“It’s assembled for our co-workers and the community,” said Mercy spokesperson Cora Scott on Friday. “It shows that we are progressing and moving ahead.”

According to St. John’s officials the assembly of the new mobile facility began on Thursday and will be open to patients Sunday, May 29.

The facility will offer services such as emergency, surgery, imaging, lab and inpatient care. It will be able to withstand 100 mile-per-hour winds.

“It’s like an Army-style M.A.S.H. unit, but it is very technologically advanced,” Scott said. “It’s everything you would expect from a hospital.”

In a release Friday, St. John’s officials said that the current facility that was damaged by the tornado has been determined to not be viable for renovation. Teams are in Joplin currently to seek out site options for a new facility.

The medical office building on the hospital campus also took a devastating blow, and structural evaluations are underway. Mercy primary care practices have been relocated and are operational. Specialists also are being relocated.

The Mercy Express Care and Mercy Clinic locations in Webb City, Carthage and Neosho were undamaged and are open.

Mercy’s electronic health record system, which was implemented in Joplin less than a month ago, will go back online, connecting the new hospital and all Mercy sites of service.

“If there is one thing that I have come to believe during this incredible week, it is that the spirit of Mercy is enduring. Nothing – not even an EF-5 tornado – can keep us from fulfilling our mission of service to our communities,” said Mercy President and CEO Lynn Britton in a statement.

The organization said, with regards to donations, they will first be used to assist co-workers in Joplin who have been affected by the disaster. Remaining funds will be used for medical needs and support in Joplin. Currently, there has been $350,000 in donations given or pledged.


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