Dr. Scott Twilley and his staff saw slightly fewer than 100 patients on Tuesday, which he said was roughly what the clinic served daily before it was destroyed on April 27.
“We’ve missed everybody in our absence. It’s been hard to be away, but everybody has done the best they could given the circumstances, and we’ve gotten back here as soon as we could,” Twilley said.
The clinic is currently operating out of a modular unit on School Street. The medical board’s plan is to have a new building ready for business on the site of the former facility by spring.
Twilley said the new clinic will be state-of-the art, have more space and include a pharmacy.
He added that although the planning stage has taken longer than board members expected, patients will reap the rewards in the end.
“We held out to not compromise the facility for the sake of time. We all had a vision for what we wanted to see the clinic be,” Twilley said.
Twilley had been the town doctor for less than a year when a tornado leveled his practice on April 27.
An early morning storm missed the clinic but knocked out its electricity, which saved the lives of numerous employees and patients who would have been in the building if it had been open that afternoon.
The staff spent three days searching for any records and equipment that could be salvaged.
Twilley said the process of evacuating the clinic was made more difficult by the fact that there was a double-wide trailer in the lobby and a house in the middle of the clinic.
“There were essentially three families including our clinic family in that rubble trying to recover personal items,” Twilley said.
Within a week, the Cordova clinic reopened in a mobile medical unit that was donated by Kansas-based nonprofit Heart to Heart International.
However, the group took their facility back when a storm struck near their home base approximately four weeks later.
Since then, Twilley has continued to treat patients from Cordova at the Sumiton Medical Clinic.
While most residents could make the transition, some found it difficult to access health care without a clinic
“I think Cordova has increased since I first came here in what’s referred to characteristically as shut-ins, people who don’t have transportation readily available to them,” Twilley said.
The modular unit was put in place over the summer.
However, a formal reopening was delayed for several months while it was furnished and remodeled for the clinic’s use as well as by personal problems encountered by each member of the medical board.
“It’s been tough. No one could have foreseen the devastation that was going to take place,” Twilley said.