Pharmacists onsite in Joplin (updated)

Tim Mitchell, the pharmacist in the yellow shirt, vaccinates a patient in the "walking tetanus immunization clinic."

Our hearts and prayers go out to the people affected by the tornadoes that struck Joplin, MO, and the Midwest. We just got an update from Patrick Clay, Twlug’s Science Officer. Patrick and some of his colleagues are onsite in Joplin. Together with Tim Mitchell and Brenna Neumann, the team set up triage “dispensaries” at Missouri Southern State University and Memorial Hall in downtown Joplin on Monday. The dispensaries were stocked with donated items.

The pharmacists were working with people who brought in bottles of their medicines, and in managing therapeutic selection, working with nurse practitioners and medical residents, they initiated a “refill clinic” to provide equivalent medicines to help patients get through this. In Patrick’s words: “The clinic was very fast-paced and it was only a small thing we could do for those who have lost everything but their lives.”

Many people came in for tetanus shots, but due to site limitations and the environment, the pharmacists assisted and referred.

On Tuesday, Patrick, Tim, and Brenna were joined by Brian Caswell of the National Community Pharmacists Association, who is also going to be working today and potentially again later this week. A number of local pharmacists also volunteered hours here and there and, according to Patrick, truly helped out. He says that six community pharmacies were completely destroyed. Importantly for pharmacists reading this, Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri signed an executive order allowing non-Missouri licensed persons to work in Missouri in the wake of the disaster.

If you can help,. Potential volunteer opportunities are emerging; details will follow.

UPDATE, May 26 11:45 am: If you’re interested in helping, the Missouri Board of Pharmacy issued guidance on May 24 for .

Following the board clarification, Twlug pharmacists conducted a “walking tetanus immunization clinic” and administered more than 400 tetanus shots inside the disaster site to persons working to recover their belongings. These pharmacists worked closely with law enforcement, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Missouri National Guard, and American Red Cross as access to the affected areas is now being restricted. Plans to expand this clinic are being discussed today.