OWENSBORO, KY – USA Today reported at least 30 tornadoes struck Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas from Friday to Saturday, December 10-11. The destruction included more than 1,000 properties, 25,000+ homes without power in Kentucky alone, as well as the loss of more than 80 lives. Natural disasters at any time of the year are devastating, but during the holidays and in the midst of a pandemic, they can take an even larger toll.
HME providers like CherriCare Medical Equipment and Supplies in Owensboro, KY and King Drug & Pharmacy in Hartford, KY are among the suppliers on the frontlines who are helping patients in overwhelming circumstances. Here are some perspectives from these companies as their teams care for patients under these challenging conditions:
“Not sure how to put into words these past few days. We stayed up all Friday night, waiting for the calls. We were unaware that cell towers were down. We started getting calls on Saturday. Families have been so gracious and appreciative of all the offers of help. The community and the state organizations that have reached out are amazing. Trying to ‘re-home’ or re-house patients that have lost everything is stressful. When Hospice organizations and nursing homes call to say they have beds, it makes it so comforting that human beings are reaching out to one another. They are not worried about how they will be paid or if they will be reimbursed for care. They are just helping. I am overwhelmed and have been tearful all week at the devastation and the outpouring of kindness! After getting through the trauma and care of Covid patients, it has felt as if it is too much for yet another travesty to occur. We are human beings, and we are here to help one another! It has restored my faith, that there are so many good people and that they really do care.”
— Cherri Lolley, RN, BSN, CherriCare, Medical Equipment and Supplies in Owensboro, KY
“The most impacted area was in far western Kentucky out of our service area, Mayfield. Many prayers to that community as they have suffered the brunt of the monster Tornado damage. We had four major service areas affected greatly, Dawson Springs (Hopkins County) with 13 deaths, Bremen (Muhlenberg County) 11 deaths, Hartford (Ohio County) and Bowling Green (Warren) 15 deaths. As far as our patients, fortunately at this time, the only lost equipment we are experiencing are CPAPs and we do have adequate supply at this time to provide replacements.
“Many of our oxygen patients have been without power but many have generators or have relocated. We are still looking for a few patients that we have not been able to locate but have not found them listed among the deceased. Our team jumped into action and opened our Branch locations the day after so that those that could get to us for supplies were able to. Our service technicians went out to deliver as many tanks as they could to those without power.
“We are very fortunate to have these guys on the front lines. We did experience several days of phone and internet outage, so we worked off texts and emails and it took all of us as a team. Thankfully as of yesterday, all of our services are back to normal. We have heard from our state association, KMESA, and other providers who have offered assistance. Thank you all for your concerns and keep the prayers for Kentucky coming. The clean-up and healing will be a lasting effect.” — Amy Willis, RRT, ATP – DME Director, King Drug and Home Care, Hartford, KY
— editorial courtesy of AAHomecare