Stories from the Storm: Nurse Amber King

A nurse in the emergency room of the Children's Hospital recounts the injuries and deaths she saw after the tornadoes hit.


My name's Amber King. I'm a nurse in the emergency department at children's hospital. Most of us, I think, our expectation was that we would get one or two patients that were critical but that the majority of our patience would. Be to some extent sort of walking winded with not you know, life threatening injuries, and we got our first two patients, actually, within about ten minutes of each other, and they were both extremely critical, and I think all of us sort of stopped and took a moment to realize. That this it was going to be a lot more patients and a lot more critical patients than we had imagined. Usually or the majority of our patients that came in, came in with no family. We had very few that had family with them. One young lady particularly was, injured pretty significantly. But she was awake. And at, it was one of the only ones that I was actually at the bedside for. And I just leaned down, and you know, asked her, do you know where you are. And we're gonna take good care of you. And she assured me she knew where she was. And, I just asked her what happened. And, this ten year old little girl said, well, we were in our bathroom. Where we were supposed to be. And, our bathroom started spinning. And, I woke up in the neighbors yard and my mom's dead. And to be ten, and to have that reality when you wake up. It, that was one of the only times during the initial time that really you know, just broke my heart. Seeing her and knowing that she knew her sis, her sis, I mean her mom was dead and it turns out she actually lost. Her whole family except for her brother and her father during that, and that includes her grandparents and an aunt. Being a mom, I think I understood why there were so many moms that died protecting their children. That, as a mom, is what you do. I would die for my children. And quite a few moms did. Our second patient that came in that night actually died in the emergency room. And our staff, our staff took a very real interest in the fact that she did not have family. With her when she died and they wanted her to be treated with the most respect. And the most care that they could but. And so that young girl sticks with me because of her situation but also because of the way it was handled, I think, by everyone involved. And they made sure that she was taken care of, the way that they would want their child to be taken care of in that situation. And so, I think she probably stuck with most of us more than anybody else. She was sort of ours. To take care of until she had somebody else to take care of her. So, I think the biggest lesson I learned is moving forward, to be grateful everyday. nobody, even those that prepared and went to safe place, and did everything that they knew to do. A lot of those people didn't make it, and their home didn't make it, or their children didn't make it. And, so. Probably more than ever, I hug my kids every day, every night, because we don't know what tomorrow holds. And we don't know how long we have with our family, and our friends.
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