Sheri Innerarity


Anna Eastin, 3/14/18

Sheri Innerarity

My husband Roy was a clinical pharmacist and I was a nurse at the hospital. I was actually working as a house supervisor at that point. So, we get to the hospital and it is very bazaar because we had drills for tornadoes right, and I get to the ER and there are no patients there. I could see from the devastation that there was going to be patients somewhere. So, I go to the big waiting room in the hospital and there are people everywhere just covered in dirt, injured and bleeding. So, what is happening here, ďWell no one is triaging,Ē So I lost almost my entire evening triaging. Hauling people out of their waiting rooms, sending some people straight to surgery and then we got everyone out of the whole big waiting area in front of the hospital. Then I spent the next, I donít know how many hours, in the emergency room just helping with things. There were a lot of things that we didnít think about until you are in the situation. Like we had no water. We had backup generators, and power, but we didnít have water, so we couldnít flush toilets, we had a bunch of people were with dirt, glass and sticks, sticking out of there body, and we have no water. So, I had worked in the hospital since 1969, 1970 basically. I mean a really long time at that point. I have been there 10-15 years. So, I went down to the central supply, because I worked urology for a while, and got those great big 3-gallon irrigation bags, that you used when people have urology surgery. And so, we just hung them up all over the place. We used them to wash our hands as well as to clean people's wounds. We had people that had dirt packed up under their eyelids. Their eyes were huge, and all the stuff that was inside them was dirt. Back then we didnít have water picks, and now we know that water picks really make a difference, but we were using IV bags to irrigate that stuff out. And then people had asbestos all over them, which was a really bad problem. Before then we didnít really realize how bad asbestos was, but it is basically flimsy glass and it gets in your entire body. We couldnít get all the glass out of people, unfortunately at that point at time. The weird thing, but there was a lot of weird stuff going on. We had people coming in and suturing - people like Psychiatrists. Psychiatrists true while they are in med school, and they were suturing. And they were suturing people up, and Iím just looking at them going I am wishing I could stop them to do it, because this could never end up well. All of us were after a while were dirty, starving and there were people laying every place. We were walking around eating sandwiches with our dirty hands. It was a surreal experience. And I didnít go to teach the next day. There were classes, but there was no way I could just drive to Lotten and leave this. And then Roy, a pharmacist, he worked in the pharmacy at the hospital. We were there for 18-19 hours working straight through it. There were 44 people that died, almost everyone that died was in car trying to outrun the tornado. So, we have pictures of it now, I am pretty sure you can find some online. It was 4 tornados a mile across and it came right through the middle of town. Right through the middle of town where most of the physician's lived. So, a lot of the doctors were, I don't think anyone was died, but a lot of them lost their homes. They certainly could not come in and help. We had people of course in surgery that were there for hours and hours just trying to save people. So, you learn what would I do different next time. It is kind of what I got out of it.