The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 11, 2012

Mercy opens new interim component hospital in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. — Julie Blankenship, a registered nurse with what now is Mercy Hospital Joplin, took a break Wednesday to recount the places she has worked since the May 22 tornado.

“First, it was a ditch,” she said. “Then it was Memorial Hall. Then we worked in the tent and the modular hospital. Now, we have this. It feels like a permanent hospital. One thing’s for certain: We keep getting better and better.”

On Wednesday, Mercy Hospital Joplin opened its doors to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in advance of bringing patients to the $100 million component hospital on Sunday.

The hospital, located at 2817 St. John’s Blvd., will be used for the next three years while a new Mercy Hospital Joplin is constructed on a 100-acre campus at East 50th Street and Hearnes Boulevard. That hospital will be four times larger than the component hospital.

Gary Pulsipher, president of the hospital, said the component hospital, which took about 8 1/2 months to erect, might be used for some other purpose when the new hospital is opened, but no definite plans have been made. It is constructed of components, which will be disconnected at some point and moved to another site.

“We have a much bigger capacity now,” he said. “We’ll be able to deliver babies again. Another important thing is that we wanted to get into this building in time for the storm season.”

The design of the hospital includes a number of “condition gray” safety zones in interior corridors where people can seek shelter in the event of threatening weather. A Mercy spokesman said the steel and concrete structure is 30 percent stronger than the code requirements that were in place when the former St. John’s hospital was constructed. The glass in the hospital is rated to withstand winds of 200 mph. The EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin had winds of at least 200 mph and destroyed St. John’s.

The hospital was constructed with 224 custom units that were transported by trailer, and in some cases by train, from Walden Structures manufacturing plants in Southern California. Some of the units were 60 feet long by 14 feet wide and high. When the units arrived in Joplin, workers bolted them together.

The 150,000-square-foot hospital has 55 private rooms that can be converted into 110 semi-private rooms should the need arise. The emergency department has three triage rooms, 17 exam rooms and three trauma rooms. Surgeons can again conduct complex, open-heart procedures. The hospital has 10 labor and delivery rooms.

Patient rooms have the latest monitoring features and communication capabilities. The hospital also has a cafeteria, gift shop, pharmacy and chapel.

All of the medical equipment in the hospital is new. In some cases, it is better than the equipment used at the old hospital, St. John’s Regional Medical Center. The new hospital has a new CT scanner that captures images with twice the resolution.

Mike McCurry, Mercy’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, told those assembled for tours of the hospital on Wednesday that Mercy never considered leaving Joplin after the tornado, though only four of its 40 buildings in Joplin survived the storm.

“Our commitment was to the community, not to buildings,” he said.

McCurry said that when Walden Structures was approached about building the hospital, Mercy was told it would take at least 15 months to do the projects. By working around the clock with as many 500 workers on the site at a time, the project was completed within 8 1/2 months.

“What’s been done here has never been done before in the history of the country,” he said.



About Mercy

SISTERS OF MERCY HEALTH SYSTEM is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy has 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient operations, and 38,000 employees in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter