St. John Trauma Specialist Gives Tips On Avoiding Injury From Tornado Debris
TULSA, Oklahoma - Reports say around 324 people were injured during the tornado that left Moore devastated Monday. Doctors say a lot of the injuries look like the victim was sandblasted.
It's hard to imagine, looking at pictures of the damage caused, but hundreds of people made it through Moore's deadly tornado with injuries that, fortunately, were not life-threatening.
Registered nurse and trauma program manager at St. John Health System, Lisa Hollett, said doctors in Oklahoma City have seen, "Anything from minor cuts and lacerations to head injuries to a lot of soft tissue injuries, fractures, internal injuries."
She's been talking with her counterparts in Oklahoma City and says many of the injuries they're seeing are the result of the powerful wind hurling debris everywhere.
"It picks up the gravel, the dust, the glass, the debris, and it just blows it with such force, it can come through walls, it can come through clothing," Hollett said.
There are ways to prevent some of those injuries, she says, and it all comes down to what clothes you're wearing.
Hollett suggests, "Long pants, long-sleeved shirts. To protect your head from head injuries, I know it sounds stupid, bike helmets, motorcycle helmets, football helmets. That'll protect your head as well."
She said trauma units across Oklahoma prepare for these massive events.
"So we can just look across and say, 'Hmm, what do we got?'" Hollett said.
Doctors and nurses at St. John can monitor hospital beds across the state and tell each medical center where they can send a patient if they get swamped or need a specialist.
Hollett said residents can help, as well, in times of crisis, by having a plan. She said it's important to know where you're going for shelter and know the best ways to protect yourself.
"Obviously, you can't wear full body armor, but if you can protect your head - you sit down, you crouch over, you protect your head and neck - but putting that helmet on, that prevents you from some of that soft tissue injury, as well as the flying debris," Hollett said.
The city had planned to do a special drill Tuesday, with the local hospitals, as well as EMSA, police, and fire, to train how to respond should a tornado strike here in Tulsa, but that was canceled due to the tragedy in Moore.