Dr. Kevin Kikta was one of two emergency physicians on duty at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, MO on Sunday, May 22 when an EF-5 tornado struck the hospital.
June 1, 2011
You never know that it will be the most important day of your life until the day is over. The day started like any other day for me: waking up, eating, going to the gym, showering, and going to my 4 pm ED shift. As I drove to the hospital, I mentally prepared for my shift as I always do, but nothing could ever have prepared me for what was going to happen on this shift.
Things were normal for the first hour and half. At approximately 5:30 pm, we received a warning that a tornado had been spotted. Although I work in Joplin and went to medical school in Oklahoma, I live in New Jersey, and I have never seen or been in a tornado. I learned that a “code gray” was being called. We were to start bringing patients to safer spots within the ED and hospital.