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MultiCare employees arrive in Philippines to help relief efforts

Posted on Nov. 12, 2013 ( comments)
Lora and David York, at left, with their team before departing for the Philippines. The Yorks are RN's at Good Samaritan Hospital. Mallory Wall-Tweten, in red, is a clinical research coordinator at MultiCare. If needed, she will travel later this week.

Three MultiCare employees are headed to the Philippines to help with typhoon relief efforts, as part of a volunteer team with EMPACT Northwest.

David and Lora York, both RN’s in the Emergency Department at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, are among the the team of six volunteers currently in Manila awaiting transport to Tacloban by the Filipino military. 

In Tacoma, awaiting updates from the team in the Philippines, was Mallory Wall-Tweten, a volunteer and board member with EMPACT Northwest who works as a clinical research coordinator with MultiCare’s Institute for Research & Innovation.

“We operate like a fire station: We evaluate the situation, we divide the duties, then we go,” Wall-Tweten said Tuesday in Tacoma. “The first team deployed within 48 hours of making the decision to deploy. It’s very fast. That’s the benefit of being a compact, lightweight organization.”

That first team will evaluate conditions in Tacloban, and based on that assessment, a second team might be sent as soon as this weekend. Wall-Tweten is on that second team.

“There’s no way to know what to expect,” Wall-Tweten said. 

The official death toll in the Philippines is at 1,744, with some estimating that the Nov. 7 storm killed more than 10,000. Another 660,000 people have been displaced.

EMPACT Northwest’s first team on the ground includes two firefighter paramedics/rescue techs, one EMT and three RN’s, including one who went to nursing school in the Philippines and serves as a translator.

“The more funding we have, the more people we can send, and the better equipped we are," Wall-Tweten said, mentioning medical supplies, food, and water filters among the many items that are needed.

EMPACT Northwest is a charitable organization made up of self-funded, volunteer medical professionals who provide disaster relief, medical education and ongoing medical aid. The group started after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, when four firefighters were tired of watching people suffer and wanted to do something about it.

“Humanitarian outreach is her thing in life,” said Wall-Tweten’s co-worker Terry Silvestrin, ARNP. “She’s just got the biggest heart. That’s why she makes such a great addition to any team.”

Learn more about EMPACT Northwest and how you can help a

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