Flooding prompts physicians to become roommates

Health
Dr. Channing Willoughby, at left, with Dr. Brian Yee inside a patient room at Tidelands Health Pain Management Services at Murrells Inlet.

Dr. Channing Willoughby, at left, with Dr. Brian Yee inside a patient room at Tidelands Health Pain Management Services at Murrells Inlet.

The decision wasn’t easy, but it was necessary.
Over the weekend, Tidelands Health physician Dr. Channing Willoughby became increasingly concerned that flooding might prevent him from getting to work at Tidelands Health Pain Management Services at Murrells Inlet.
The main route from his family’s home north of Conway was already cut off by floodwaters, and worsening conditions left him unsure if secondary routes would remain passable.
“The last thing I wanted to do was go home on Monday night and Tuesday find that I couldn’t get back to work,” Dr. Willoughby said. “I decided it wasn’t worth risking.”
So Dr. Willoughby, like a number of other dedicated Tidelands Health team members impacted by flooding, made alternative arrangements to help ensure he could make it to work and care for patients. Otherwise, dozens of appointments would have been postponed, in some cases leaving patients suffering from chronic pain without access to care they rely upon to manage their conditions.
“A lot of patients would have had to be rescheduled,” he said. “Some patients have medications they would have a hard time without.”
Starting Monday night, Dr. Willoughby and colleague Dr. Brian Yee became temporary roommates at Dr. Yee’s home in North Myrtle Beach. Dr. Willoughby plans to stay with Dr. Yee until he’s confident he can make it back and forth to work without a problem.
“Having to leave your family at home is always tough,” said Dr. Willoughby, who is married with three children ages 12 and under, “but you have to do what you need to do.”
Although Dr. Yee has only practiced at Tidelands Health Pain Management Services for about 45 days, he and Dr. Willoughby are well acquainted. They were both anesthesiology residents at West Virginia University, where Dr. Willoughby got to know Dr. Yee, his wife and his children.
Dr. Yee’s family remains in West Virginia making preparations to move to the coast.
“It was an easy transition,” said Dr. Yee. “He’s almost like an uncle we didn’t get to see that much.”
Over the past several days, Drs. Yee and Willoughby have both stayed at the office late trying to catch up on work delayed due to Hurricane Florence. In their free time, they’ve watched Monday Night Football together and chatted.
“Luckily, I guess we have similar taste in food,” Dr. Yee said. “There haven’t been any arguments about what we’re eating for dinner.”

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