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TORCH Fall Conference- OGH Keynote Speaker

The Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH) invited Ochiltree General Hospital to be the Keynote Speaker at their 5th Annual Fall Conference on September 27th in Round Rock, Texas. Kelly Judice, Interim CEO, invited some members of OGH Staff to speak. about their experience during the Tornado in June of 2023. Judice stated, their main objective was to encourage others to have an emergency preparedness plan. Judice began with introductions: Dr. Manon Childers III (CMO & Trauma Medical Director), Jyme Kinnard (CNO), Debbie Beck (CFO), Dr. Blake DeWitt (Trauma Committee Member & Provider), and Candace Lizardo (Emergency Preparedness Coordinator & LPC.) She went on to discuss the events from the administrator perspective. Next, Dr. Childers details the events leading up to the Tornado as the provider working the ER on the day of. He also discussed the importance of practicing emergency preparedness protocols and what he thought was done well and where there was room for improvement. Jyme Kinnard followed with information about the next steps like contacting the RACK, the response of other EMS services, and OGH department responses. Kinnard stated, “It was like witnessing a nightmare and a miracle all at the exact same time.” Debbie Beck discussed setting up the command central and coordinating supplies and trying to plan ahead for any potential issues that could arise. She discussed the after-math of the tornado with the hospital not having gas or electricity for extended times. Dr. DeWitt spoke about the experience in the emergency room and the response after the initial wave of patients. DeWitt discussed the effects that disasters like this can have on your staff’s mental health and what a debriefing process should entail. He spoke about the importance of being out in the public showing your support for the community, that a provider’s care does not only occur in the four walls of a hospital. Candace Lizardo discussed the emergency preparedness plan and why it is important to make a plan that works best for your hospital’s specific situation. Kelly closed with an offer of support to other rural hospitals in any way that OGH Staff can assist.

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