Dynamic Chiropractic – May 22, 1995, Vol. 13, Issue 11

Caring in the Midst of Crisis

DCs Treat Oklahoma City Rescue Workers

By Steve Yandell, DC
Editor's Note: The Oklahoma City bombing brought an outpouring of rescue workers from across the state and the country. We've received a number of calls from chiropractors in Oklahoma who have volunteered their time to treat the rescue workers.
The following on-site report is from Steve Yandell, DC, of Edmond, Oklahoma. We will be doing follow-up stories from other DCs in Oklahoma.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The bomb went off at 9:04 a.m. Wednesday morning. People 60 miles away heard the blast. By Thursday morning chiropractors were set up four blocks away from the bomb site to offer their services. On Friday we were also in a local church close to the site, and by late Friday we were in the command center, where we adjusted over 700 fire fighters, military police, rescue workers, FBI agents, police officers, FEMA agents, and others aiding in the disaster efforts.

By Monday the word was out that the chiropractors and massage therapist were on the second floor of the command center, which is located in the SW Bell building. Monday night alone we adjusted over 300 workers.

We now have schedules organized and are providing around the clock care. With each shift change of rescue workers, we get very busy. Sometimes the chiropractor on duty is as busy at 2:00 a.m. as the chiropractors working at 2:00 p.m. These first few days we have seen mostly rescue workers from Sacramento and Phoenix. When the national guard found out about us, we really got busy.

Each and every one of us chiropractors have heard the phrase, "Of all the services provided here in Oklahoma City, the chiropractors help us more than anything." It is amazing to have these out state workers thanking us for being here. We always thank them in return. In the basement off the SW Bell building there is a constant stream of activity. Food is in abundance in every direction. Hot, freshly cooked food too, not cold sandwiches. Socks, rainsuits, coats, flashlights, and generators are stockpiled.

A group of nurses have every conceivable type of over-the-counter medication set up in their booth. On Monday people lined up to get tetanus vaccinations. If there is any shortage of any material, the Red Cross lets the media know, and the media in turn puts the need for the items on the air. Within the hour the people of Oklahoma City have the needed items stock piled in the basement.

Monday evening I sat down in the basement to have dinner. To my right were three workers from Kansas. To my left were two workers from Iowa; across from me were five workers from Nebraska. A general from the army was sitting at another table, and Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating was standing at the head of the table talking to rescue workers. The outpouring of help is really unbelievable.

There is not a shortage of DCs volunteering their help. Once the word was out doctors from Oklahoma City and as far away as Kingfisher (45 miles) volunteered their help or just showed up. The out of state rescue workers who have worked several disasters repeated said, "I have always heard you Okies were friendly, good people, but now I know for sure."

The people of Oklahoma have pulled together like never before. Connie Chung was here broadcasting and really upset the people of Oklahoma. She asked the fire marshall, "Can you people in Oklahoma handle something this big and disastrous?" as if we lived in a different era. Then she crashed the media line and tried to get up closer than the rest of the media. She was immediately escorted back and even threatened to be arrested after she resisted. T-shirts were made up with "Who the hell is Connie Chung?" written on the front and something I can't put in print on the back. The shirts are selling fast and all proceeds are going to the disaster relief fund. We noticed the next day Connie was gone and Dan Rather was in her place.

A reporter from "A Current Affair" volunteered with the Red Cross just so he could get his camera up close. He was arrested and asked to leave. The next day the same reporter was back with a fire fighter uniform and a fake ID. He once again was arrested. But here in Oklahoma we have not had one reported case of looters nor even a report of a stolen car from the area.

We usually ask each worker if they have ever been to a chiropractor. At first the ones getting adjustments had almost always been to a chiropractors before, but as the hours went by more and more people became exposed to chiropractic for the first time. The split seems to be about 60 percent first-timers and 40 percent old-timers. The exposure is all good, and they were told you need to see a chiropractor on a regular basis.

The rescue workers are doing a fantastic job, but one reason they are is because of the Oklahoma DCs keeping them on the job.

Steve Yandell, DC
Edmond, Oklahoma


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