Power outages put stress on Memphis families with medical challenges

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As electricity is still out for some residents in Memphis following Monday’s storms, the lack of resources is putting pressure on families, especially those who have loved ones with medical challenges.

Corine Oliver and her neighbors experienced what weather officials now classify as a tornado ripping through their Parkway Village neighborhood Monday morning.

“Right at 6 o’clock, I’m listening to the news, and the lights go out,” Oliver said.

The damage left behind was still visible Tuesday.

“I thought the tree came through our house, but it was just on the roof,” Oliver said. “My neighbor had several trees on her roof, and neighbor next to her had two trees on his roof.”

Oliver was getting ready to take her sister to the neurologist. She has a traumatic brain injury and requires full-time care. When the electricity went out, she realized her breathing machine wouldn’t work, among other issues.

“At home, my sister has a hospital bed,” Oliver said. “We don’t have any electricity, so her bed was stuck where her neck was like this. I struggled to pull her up and get her out of the position.”

So instead of going to the doctor, she found herself calling the doctor.

“Her doctor told me the best thing to do was bring her to the hospital because it’s not safe at home,” she said.

At Methodist University Hospital, Oliver knows her sister is getting better care.

But it doesn’t take away the stress of what’s going on back at home. Neighbors are still cleaning up as the responsibilities pile up.

“I have to take care of all her finances for her,” Oliver said. “I have to get a whole list. It’s overwhelming.”

Oliver said she’s now going to look into getting a generator to keep at the house.

At last check, MLGW officials did not have a time estimate for when power in Parkway Village would be restored. They do encourage people with special medical needs to register with them; to place your name on the registry of customers with life-sustaining equipment, call the MLGW Customer Care Center at 901-544-6549.

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