Tornado damages, temporarily closes Mercy hospital in Oklahoma

April 2024
A tornado heavily damaged Mercy Health Love County hospital and clinic in Marietta, Oklahoma, the night of April 27. Ten patients and about ten workers inside the building were uninjured.



A tornado heavily damaged the 25-bed Mercy Health Love County hospital and clinic in Marietta, Oklahoma, just north of the Texas border.

The tornado hit the hospital late April 27, a Saturday. Nobody in the building was hurt. Before the tornado hit, about 10 workers were able to move two patients from the emergency room and eight inpatients to storm shelters on the property. Within hours, the patients were transferred to other facilities.

"We are so grateful for our heroic co-workers who moved patients and visitors to safety before the storm hit," Scott Callender, administrator of Mercy Health Love County, said in a statement. "We regularly train for severe weather, so our co-workers were ready and knew what to do."

The hospital's administrative section was "just decimated. Large parts of the roof are gone," said Mercy spokeswoman Meredith Huggins. She noted that nobody was in the administrative offices on that Saturday night.

The emergency room and the suite that houses the CT scanner also were heavily damaged, Huggins said, while many of the patient rooms were unscathed.

"We're so thankful everybody was safe," she said. "We had minimal people inside the facilities."

The hospital and the clinic are closed for the foreseeable future. About 150 people work there, and Mercy administrators have offered assurance that the staffers will have employment in other facilities. The nearest Mercy hospital is in Ardmore, Oklahoma, about 20 miles away. The hospitals are part of Chesterfield, Missouri-based Mercy.

The wreckage littered the emergency department, administrative offices and the space that houses a CT scanner at Mercy Health Love County hospital and clinic after the tornado.



Mercy also was working to connect people, such as transfusion patients, to other facilities in the area so they can continue care.

"Unfortunately, this is not Mercy's first experience dealing with a hospital decimated by a tornado," Huggins said, recalling the 2011 tornado that struck Mercy Hospital Joplin, then known as St. John's Regional Medical Center, in southwest Missouri. That tornado was an EF-5, the National Weather Service's highest ranking. The one that hit Marietta was an EF-4, which indicates winds of up to 200 mph.

Teams with the weather service determined at least 22 tornadoes occurred during the April 27-28 outbreak. At least four people were killed in the state, including one on Interstate 35 near Marietta, according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

Mercy is working to establish a fund to help employees whose homes were destroyed or damaged.

"Our focus is taking care of our people because they are so crucial to our organization," Catherine Codispoti, Mercy's chief people officer, said in a statement. "We want our co-workers to know their jobs are secure and we are working through plans to support and redeploy them while we work through next steps in Marietta."


If you’d like to help those impacted by the Oklahoma tornado, visit


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