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X-rays found 70 miles from tornado-struck hospital

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | May 23, 2011
Mercy says this
sculpture is all
that remains 'untouched'
by the tornado
at the Joplin hospital.
X-rays from a regional hospital obliterated by one of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history apparently drifted 70 miles to a neighboring county, according to CNN.

Gurneys were also tossed up to five blocks away, as St. John's Regional Medical Center sustained "extensive damage" from the tornado that devastated the southwest Missouri town of Joplin and left at least 89 dead and more than 500 injured.

On its website, Sisters of Mercy Health System, which runs the hospital, showed a photograph of a stone cross uplifted by a pair of hands - the only "only thing on the Joplin campus that was untouched by the tornado."

"Our hearts go out to our friends and colleagues at St. John's Regional Health Center in Joplin, and to the Joplin community, in the wake of the May 22, 2011 devastating tornado," reads a notice from Mercy President and CEO Lynn Britton, posted on Mercy's website. (The hospital's website remains down.)

In its most recent update Monday morning, Mercy said the 183 patients at the hospital when the tornado hit were evacuated and triaged through nearby Freeman Hospital before being dispatched to other hospitals in the region. Mercy said it was trying to contact its 1,700 employees in the area. CNN said about 200 staffers from the hospital were evacuated with the patients.

The news channel also reported that residents of Dade County, Mo., about 70 miles east of Joplin, found X-ray films on their driveways.

Mercy asked anyone who finds medical records to hold onto them and "respect the privacy" of the patients, as the health system works out a way to collect the records.

The tornado is America's fourth deadliest since 1950, when the National Weather Service began tracking such information, according to CNN.

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