CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - "It was bad. It was really bad," Amanda Irby explains. The night of April 27th is a night many Arkansans will never forget, especially the physicians at Conway Regional Medical Center.
The tornado sent several people to Conway Regional Medical Center for emergency treatment.
"Brain trauma, chest trauma, belly trauma, open fractures, there was quite a variety," Dr. Wade Gregory lists. Irby, the hospital's Emergency Department Director, remembers the night vividly, saying, "(We were) seeing the people as fast as you can."
One after the other, they showed up by ambulance, personal vehicle, however they could get there.
"Before the ambulances even got to us we had two pickup trucks arrived," Irby recalled. "Patients were in the back of the pickup trucks, laying on doors."
This was the first time the hospital had to create three separate triage areas, treating more than 100 patients in just a few hours in, what is typically, a 16-bed emergency room. Irby says, "Every department in this ER had a hand in this disaster."
The hospital managed to treat, release, or transfer every person who came in and no lives were lost after being admitted to the hospital.
Now their successful efforts are on the radars of many other medical centers, with doctors asking how they were able to do it. Both Gregory and Irby attribute their success to their planning and preparedness.
"You always have to be (ready). That's your sole purpose as the ER really is to be able to deal with those kinds of situations because no one else is going to," Gregory says.