Beyond The Destruction: Nurse Recalls Surviving Inside Moore Hospital Hit By EF-5 Tornado

Saturday marks the 10th anniversary of the May 20th Moore tornado. Right in the middle of the storm’s path was the Moore Medical Center. ”I think that was the hardest moment in my nursing career,” says Stephanie Gehrke. By the time the tornado hit she and her fellow doctors and nurses had already moved patients into the inner parts of the hospital.

Saturday, May 20th 2023, 10:51 pm



-

Saturday marks the 10th anniversary of the May 20th Moore tornado. Right in the middle of the storm’s path was the Moore Medical Center.

”I think that was the hardest moment in my nursing career,” says Stephanie Gehrke. By the time the tornado hit she and her fellow doctors and nurses had already moved patients into the inner parts of the hospital.

“We made sure that they were OK. We made sure they were covered in blankets and pillows and if they needed medications we made sure we got that done before it was truly bearing down on us.”

And they were hunkered down behind a tiny nurse’s desk.

“That was the first time I feared for my children. I was worried I would leave them without a mom.”

“We started making a line to Moore Medical Center as fast as we could we were astonished, breathless, prayerful all the way here watching this cloud come across where we knew Moore Medical Center sat,” said Richie Splitt who had just started as CEO. “We were grateful to learn the 400 plus people had minor injuries to them. No lost lives and just the miracle that occurred on that day.”

Within six months, Norman Regional had a temporary hospital up and running.

“We had full-service ER, full-service lab, full-service imaging,” says Splitt.

Three years after the tornado, Norman Regional opened a brand-new Moore hospital built in the exact same location as the one destroyed by the tornado.

“Part of it is the history and Moore Medical Center was here and the hope the facility represented before the tornado and the hope it represented after and healing that followed,” says Splitt.

There are still reminders of that terrible day. A flag that was found across the street and a sculpture out front made from 2,000 prismatic crystals, a symbol of strength and moving forward.

And perhaps most importantly, the new hospital has a tornado shelter.

Stephanie did the interview for this story in just about the exact same place where she was working, the ER on May 20th.

She's back working in the ER now. The only ER nurse from May 20th who's still here but says she never thought about going anywhere else.

logo

Get The Daily Update!

Be among the first to get breaking news, weather, and general news updates from News 9 delivered right to your inbox!

More Like This

May 20th, 2023

February 21st, 2024

February 21st, 2024

February 21st, 2024

Top Headlines

February 21st, 2024

February 21st, 2024

February 21st, 2024

February 21st, 2024