By Ruth Cummins
Taking a break from assembling and outfitting the UMMC Mobile Field Hospital at the National Guard Armory in Rolling Fork are, from left, AirCare EMS Kyle Upchurch; Will Appleby, critical care transport educator at the Mississippi Center for Emergency Services; and AirCare paramedics Kaci David and Ron Hopson.
The University of Mississippi Medical Center is coordinating with the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to deploy a mobile field hospital in Rolling Fork.
Large tents and other components needed to construct a hospital are erected today at the National Guard Armory, 19719 US 61 in Rolling Fork.
When fully operational on Friday, it will be the temporary home of the Delta Health Center hospital and medical clinic system for Sharkey and Issaquena counties.
It’s the latest in a series of steps taken by the state’s only academic medical center, MSDH and MEMA, to care for the injured and sick in Rolling Fork, which was mostly destroyed by a tornado late Friday. Mississippi MED-COM, the state’s emergency communications hub at UMMC’s Mississippi Center for Emergency Services, took action before the storm hit and called the Delta Health Center emergency room to alert staff to the National Weather Service’s tornado warning .
MCES immediately dispatched its FAST (Forward Assessment and Scene Triage) teams to assist affected communities. They have remained in Rolling Fork since Friday night to provide 24-hour medical and emergency assistance to local responders.
On Monday, the mobile clinic, operated by UMMC’s School of Nursing, began operations in Rolling Fork, providing routine health care and filling other service gaps, such as: The fully equipped van, which includes an exam room and patient registration area, will remain in place until the field hospital is fully deployed.
Delta Health Center staff will work at the field hospital and care for the same patients until the DHC facilities are operational again.
The Mobile Field Hospital is a collaboration between MSDH and UMMC as part of the government’s Disaster Medical Assistance System. UMMC and MSDH also deployed a field hospital in Yazoo City to provide medical assistance to victims of the Mississippi River floods in 2011 and to Louisville in 2014 to treat patients after a tornado damaged the Winston Medical Center.
The field hospital became an alternative care facility for COVID-19 patients in 2021, established in the UMMC Parking Lot B across from the adult emergency room.