Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord narrowly escaped the tornado’s deadly path of destruction on Friday, but they weren’t spared from the impacts of the storm.
The hospital is just a block away from where some homes were destroyed by the storm, and on Friday, it was all hands on deck for the emergency room. The storm hit just before 4 p.m., and workers say the emergency room was already full of patients before the tornado even touched down.
Staff members were moved to safe locations, and doctors and nurses went room to room to check on patients as ambulances and even walk-ins started to arrive in the E.R. “There was multiple patients coming at the same time, so we call a Code Triage for the hospital,” said Sarah Gohl, Otsego Memorial emergency room charge nurse. “When I called that the amount of resources suddenly flooded the E.R. And it was really an awesome thing to see.”
“I think generally the response from the hospital to the community, to EMS, to outlying hospitals we transfer to, I don’t know that there could have been a better response from everybody involved,” said Dr. Scott Pirkle, an emergency room physician at Otsego Memorial. “We had people in the emergency department from every nook and cranny in the hospital just looking to help.”
Some patients were diverted to the hospital in Grayling, and some of those with more serious injuries are receiving additional treatment downstate.