Two huge stories in the Mid-Ohio Valley this week.
One, of course, is the tornado or possible tornado that ripped through southeastern Ohio and southern Wood County as well as other locations Thursday evening.
A Wood County man died when his home was destroyed by winds that appear to have been higher than 100 miles per hour.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
I was recently talking with some folks about how we live in a relatively safe area when it comes to tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, oil spills, forest fires and other natural and man-made disasters. But this tornado and a handful of others which have ripped through this region over the years, serve as reminders that no place is immune from them and people should take the warnings that WTAP and other media disseminate, more seriously.
It can…and does…happen here.
The other big story is the proposed sale of St. Joseph’s Hospital to the West Virginia United Health System and the affiliation of Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital with that same organization.
A weird coincidence with these two events. The most recent time I can remember a tornado touching down in Wood County was several years ago, when a micro-burst flattened a house on Avery Street in Parkersburg. A baby in a crib inside, miraculously escaped unhurt. On that same day, St. Joseph's Hospital was making a major announcement about open heart surgeries. Incredible!
Anyway, no one can say for sure what the full impact of these proposed hospital changes will be on the long-term. At this point, no one can even say for sure what the two local facilities will be called.
We can only hope this plan results in no job losses and a more varied and cost-efficient health care delivery system for everyone in this region. That’s what all the parties say it will do and that’s what everyone hopes will happen.
Only time will tell for sure.
But it certainly represents a possible sea change in the health care system that Mid-Ohio Valley residents have known for more than a century. And we hope that will turn out to be a good thing indeed.