Sentara Obici Hospital Weathers Tornado with Little Damage
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Sentara Obici Hospital Weathers Tornado with Little Damage 

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Suffolk, VA – April 30, 2008Sentara Obici Hospital suffered minimal damage when the tornado devastated Suffolk on Monday. Hospital operations continue uninterrupted. Scheduled procedures at the Ambulatory Surgery Center on the campus resume today. The ASC also continues to serve as Incident Command Center for the Federal, State and Local joint recovery operation in space donated by Sentara.

“You could see the patients coming to us on foot from across the parking lot almost immediately after the tornado passed by,” says Phyllis Stoneburner, vice president of patient care services, who witnessed the tornado’s approach from her office window and sounded the alarm via the hospital’s overhead intercom system.

“Patients with bleeding cuts and broken bones were coming in every door as we stood up our mass casualty protocols.”

Sentara Obici Hospital staff treated more than 70 patients within a few hours. Most were treated and released. Only three patients required admission.

“Our team was amazing,” says Stoneburner. “Every department in the hospital pitched in to help manage the influx of patients and their medical and emotional needs after this terrible experience, and our patients could not have been more understanding or cooperative.

“To see so many injured people helping each other and offering to wait for others to be seen just filled our hearts,” Stoneburner concludes. “It was an uplifting experience.”

Damage to hospital superficial
Damage to the hospital was minimal. There were two broken windows, six feet of loose flashing on a roofline, some superficial brick damage and a 4X6 board impaled in the roof. Vehicles in the parking lot were damaged by flying debris, including sheet metal from the shopping center across the street. However, the hospital continued operations and stood down its mass casualty response protocols by 10 p.m. after the storm.

Coverage of Sentara Obici Hospital in the Virginian-Pilot.

Official Information from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

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