March 4, 2020

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital sends a gift of support to Vanderbilt Children’s ER after tornado disaster. “We’re all in this together.”

Oklahomans know about tornadoes, and the gift of food and drinks brought tears to the eyes of their colleagues at Vanderbilt

Employees of the Emergency Department at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt gather around the gift of food and drinks sent by colleagues at the Oklahoma University Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.

Amid the devastating aftermath from the EF-3 tornado that tore through Nashville, Mt. Juliet and Cookeville communities on March 3, many people — near and far — have been searching for ways to help and show support for those impacted.

One such gesture of support came to Nashville from 681 miles away in Oklahoma City, a community that is no stranger to the devastation a tornado can bring or the impact to health care teams. The Oklahoma University Children’s Hospital Emergency Department team wanted to buoy their fellow health care workers at the Emergency Department at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

“We are all in this together,” wrote Ryan Erb from the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital ED. “I’m just glad you all are safe.”

The Oklahoma Children’s ED, all too familiar with tornado disasters, quickly took up a collection just hours after the tornado to buy drinks and food for the Nashville team. Any way they could help, she said, for what they know is a very draining experience.

About 16 hours after the tornado struck and following a long emotional day, a large food order delivery arrived in Nashville at the Children’s Hospital ED. Incredibly touched by the thoughtfulness and support, the nourishment was met with tears and gratitude.

“Words cannot express our appreciation to our Emergency Department colleagues at Oklahoma University Children’s Hospital.  As we continue to process the injuries, loss of life and devastation, this gift brought our team a small measure of joy,” said Kate Copeland, RN, RN NEA-B, administrative director of Emergency Services for Children’s Hospital.

“To feel love and compassion from those who have walked the same steps and understand our work  brought tears to my eyes and to many who work in our Pediatric Emergency Department. We will forever be grateful for our new friends in Oklahoma and they are now part of our Peds ED family. We hope to have the opportunity to meet them in person someday.”

Employees affected by the severe weather can reach out to the Work/Life Connections Employee Assistance Program at 615-936-1327.