Outside Hillcrest Medical Center, sirens wailed as ambulances kept arriving Monday night.
Frazzled medical workers helped old men and women, heads and knees covered with bandages, into wheelchairs. Nurses and doctors rolled bloodied babies and young children inside on stretchers.
As the television boomed with reports of deadly tornadoes, Tony Lawson sat in the emergency room - sweat and shock covering his face.
"Luckily, it just went over our house, but it took our daughter's house," Lawson, 39, said.
Lawson found his daughter, grandson and a friend amid the remains of their destroyed home. He rushed them to the hospital and wasn't sure how badly they were injured.
"All I know is they were in the house that's gone," he said.
The scene was repeated Monday night at hospitals throughout the Oklahoma City area. At least nine were confirmed dead by hospitals, and more than 350 patients were treated.
Area hospitals jumped to "code black" and a disaster mode during the chaos of the multiple tornadoes.
Southwest Medical Center reported more than 75 injuries and four fatalities. Midwest Regional Medical Center reported two fatalities, and more than 75 patients with minor to severe injuries. Patients varied in age from 1 to 98. Baptist Medical Center reported nine minor injuries, including eight from gas fumes and a head injury.
Norman Regional Hospital spokesman Grant Farrimond confirmed one fatality and said at least 50 patients were admitted by late Monday. Flying glass accounted for many of the injuries, he said.
At Hillcrest Health Center, 2129 SW 59, more than 150 patients were crowded into the emergency room, outpatient surgery, inpatient surgery unit - even the cafeteria. At least two fatalities were confirmed, and hospital officials said there could be more.
Integris Southwest Medical Center, a hospital spokesman said, was "full... with a lot of head and neck injuries."
"We were ready to accept mass casualties," said a spokesman for Integris Southwest and Integris Baptist Medical Center, which called in more than 400 extra staff members to take casualty overflows from other hospitals if needed.
Trucks with makeshift gurneys, ambulances and medical flights overwhelmed the emergency room at Midwest City Regional Medical Center as hospital workers struggled to organize the chaos. Victims and volunteers inundated the hospital.
Air Force Pilot Jonathan Clements' son, Dejean, 4, was among the dozens treated at Midwest City Regional.
Clements had cradled Dejean as the tornado roared over their home on Tinker Air Force Base. But later, as natural gas fumes settled over the base, Dejean became dizzy and started vomiting. At Midwest City Regional, paramedics gave Dejean oxygen, and he later left the hospital dazed but uninjured.
As the night wore on, family members searched frantically for wives, husbands and children at the hospital. Volunteers also flooded the hospital, but many were turned away. The hospital's parking lot overflowed, and ambulances struggled through the congestion to deliver tornado victims.
Paramedic John Griffith directed the vehicles to the circular driveway as sirens wailed through the night. A few seconds later, two pickups with injured people wrapped in blankets and strapped to makeshift gurneys speeded through the entrance as an ambulance stalled, blocking a section of the drive. Volunteers struggled to push the ambulance out of the way as medical staff triaged the victims.
At Hillcrest Medical Center, hospital officials worked feverishly to flip through handwritten pages listing the injured, including young children who did not know their last names.
Distraught relatives kept rushing through the sliding-glass doors, hoping to find their loved ones. A father described his 13-year-old son and told of a gash on his head and his broken teeth. Another man came searching for his 78-year-old mother. A man in bare feet, his shoes lost from running through debris, came to find his brother.
"Every one of them was gone," the man said of the homes in the neighborhood he had left. "Every one of them."
Ruth Hensley, a registered nurse visiting Moore, hid under an Interstate 35 overpass during the storm. She then helped a paramedic bring a mother and her 11-year-old son to the hospital. The mother had a fractured leg, while the boy's shoulder was severely cut.
"They were in a house that was totaled," Hensley said. "The little boy said he flew up in the air and his mother caught him and held him down."
As Lawson waited in the Hillcrest emergency room, shock suddenly gave way to a painful reality: His injured grandson Matthew Chapman's fourth birthday is Wednesday, and all his presents were wiped away by a tornado.
But Lawson promised the boy will get a birthday party, even if his home no longer exists.
"Fortunately, my wife and I hadn't had a chance to get his presents yet, so at least he'll get a couple of things," the grandfather said.
Staff writers Jim Killackey and Chip Minty contributed to this report.
staff writers Bobby Ross Jr. , Melissa Nelson and Christy WatsonArchive ID: 761620