St. John's lost access to emergency power during the storm and was too damaged to be occupied. Staff evacuated 183 patients to hospitals throughout the region after the storm hit.
Clinicians have had to work out of a series of temporary facilities in the years since the storm. A 60-bed, tent-based field hospital was set up within a week after the storm, followed by a system of portable buildings (pictured above) later in the year. Now, staff work in a modular component hospital with windows rated to withstand 200-mph winds.
During the 2011 storm, an air handling unit on the roof of the hospital was lifted by the tornado and landed on a component of the hospital's emergency generator system, damaging it beyond repair. In the new facility, all of the hospital's mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are located 400 feet east and halfway below ground in a central energy plant, to avoid a similar situation and protect the hospital's infrastructure.
Mercy Joplin is built to withstand at least an EF3 tornado. Laminated glass--which is less likely to shatter--is located throughout the building, and all exterior windows are able to withstand winds of at least 140 miles per hour. In areas where patients are less able to be moved, such as the emergency department or the intensive care unit, windows are rated at 250 miles per hour, within the EF5 classification.