Jonesboro doctors help treat Joplin victims

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – That tornado destroyed Joplin's largest hospital, along with several doctors' homes and offices.  When a group of Region 8 physicians saw the damage they knew they had to do something.

Members of the Medical Reserve Corps are trained to help out during a disaster.  When they saw report after report of the need for medical help and the condition of the hospital and doctors' offices, Dr. Shane Speights said he and his fellow physicians knew they had to help.

"We knew when we got there we would be about twenty hours out after the disaster so we kind of anticipated that we would be relieving the doctors and the medical personnel who had been there for quite some time," said Dr. Speights.

"Most of the people who were seriously hurt had already been evacuated but there were still all the people who still had medical problems who didn't have doctors offices to go to because they were destroyed," said Dr. Mickey Deel.

The doctors arrived around four o'clock Monday afternoon and left Wednesday morning.  During that time they saw 150 patients.

"We were needed.  That's why we went.  We went because we were needed and we knew we would be used and we were and we felt like we were able to provide care there that they otherwise wouldn't have gotten," said Speights.

Speights said they were not only needed by patients but by doctors.

"One thing that really strikes home for me is that the individuals that are working, the doctors and nurses and therapists, they have their own personal disasters going on at home," said Speights.

He said those are the real heroes.

"They're there providing care to their community when their own homes have been damaged or destroyed and their own family members have been injured," said Speights.

The group didn't know what they would find so they took supplies with them.

"We took IV kits, we took suture trays, we took antibiotics just anything you could use for the most common injuries," said Deel.

While they did treat physical needs the doctors say they also treated emotional ones.

"A lot of these patients really just want someone to talk to and it seemed as maybe a physician put them at ease," said Dr. Christopher Brown.

"A lot of times they just want to tell you their story and as a physician the best thing you can do is just listen," said Speights.

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