From Storm Chaser to Doctor

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During the May 22, 2011 tornado one storm chaser went from tracking the twister to saving those that were impacted by the disaster.

Most people in the Four States won’t forget May 22nd, 2011. For Dr. Jason Persoff, he started off tracking the storm…

“We were on the backside of that. I could actually feel the tornado. It had actually had a feeling associated with it. Low vibrations, very dark, there was tons of lightning spitting out of the back of the tornado,” says Dr. Jason Persoff.

Once he saw damage along the highway he went from chaser to using his training from his full-time job–a medical doctor. Then he heard what happened to Saint John’s Regional Medical Center.

“And in my lifetime I never heard the words ‘hospital destroyed.’ It was absolutely chilling,” says Dr. Persoff.

Dr. Persoff temporarily worked at Freeman Health System treating patients in the E.R. and those coming in from Saint John’s. He ended up working a twelve hour shift tending to those that were devastated by the storm.

“The admiration I had for the nursing staff I ended up working with through that whole night. I can’t even express how much they showed me what real care and love is,” says Dr. Persoff.

This event left a long lasting impact on him.

“Turning those patients over was one of the hardest things, because I felt responsible for them. And I knew that the suffering in Joplin was beginning, where as for me I was going to go back to a normal life. And that dichotomy was really hard,” says Dr. Persoff.

Since then he’s made it his goal to improve medical attention to victims after a natural disaster occurred.

“I suddenly realized where there were gaps in providing care in disaster situations and I made a promise to myself, and the people of Joplin, that I would figure out solutions to make hospital responses to disasters more effective and powerful,” says Dr. Jason Persoff.

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