Treating injuries from tornadoes is a well-established job in Oklahoma, but healthcare providers say the twister that carved a 17-mile-long path of destruction through central Oklahoma Monday produced surprising injury patterns and unusual flows of patients.
Trauma clinicians at two hospitals in Oklahoma City, just north of the hard-hit city of Moore, saw far fewer head injuries than they had expected given the strength of the storm, which packed winds as strong as 200 mph. But the stream of broken bones and degloving injuries—in which skin is ripped from the underlying tissue—was heavy at area hospitals.
“When you see these monster storms come through that have significantly more energy associated with them, things are different,” said Dr. David Hogan, an emergency physician and disaster-medicine specialist at 305-bed Integris Southwest Medical Center.
Integris Southwest, which treated 91 patients and had one fatality as of Tuesday morning, turned out to be one of the closest hospitals to Moore after the tornado shredded the second story of the city's downtown hospital, Moore Medical Center, a campus of Norman Regional Health System.