One week to the minute after a tornado decimated Mercy Hospital Joplin campus, hospital leaders and supporters stood on the same grounds - under clear, sunny skies - to bless the opening of a mobile hospital facility.
Sunday’s 5:45 p.m. blessing ceremony christened Mercy Hospital Joplin, a fully functional acute care facility, in true Catholic health ministry fashion. Messages of gratitude, hope and faith were relayed by Mercy leaders, including local Mercy representatives Gary Pulsipher, President; Sr. Cabrini Koelsh, director of Mission Services; and Terry Wachter, vice president of Mission; and Sisters of Mercy Health System CEO Lynn Britton. The Rev. James Vann Johnston Jr., bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, conducted the blessing ritual amidst a crowd of Mercy co-workers, community supporters and media representatives.
“While this moment in time commemorates a very dark hour for Mercy one week ago today, it also propels us forward with hope and renewed optimism for a bright future in Joplin,” Pulsipher said.
The 60-bed mobile hospital facility opened for patients earlier on Sunday and is equipped to offer round-the-clock emergency, surgery, imaging and lab services, as well as inpatient care. Designed as a temporary facility, the hospital will serve patients during an interim period while Mercy formulates plans for rebuilding and re-establishing comprehensive hospital and clinic services in Joplin.