Planning for the worst, Metcalfe and his team immediately began working to acquire enough supplies to support the hospital.
“The objective was to not have any reliability issues with our supply chain,” Metcalfe said. “It was to essentially be a self-sustaining supply chain.”
Partnerships were key.
For many years, Tidelands Health has teamed with Ohio-based Cardinal Health for medical supplies and medications. At 4 p.m. on Friday, Metcalfe’s team reached out to Cardinal Health to explain the situation.
The health system ordered a month’s worth of medical supplies and a week’s worth of medications, with plans to air-drop more supplies if necessary.
The process to deliver the medications was fairly straightforward; they arrived by approximately 8 p.m. on Saturday, Metcalfe said.
But that wasn’t the case with the medical supplies – the IV fluids, bandages, syringes and other necessities the hospital would need to care for the community. Normally, those supplies would ship from a warehouse in Charlotte, but it was in the path of the storm and lost power that afternoon as Cardinal Health team members were on the phone discussing how to fulfill the health system’s request.
Instead, the shipment came from a warehouse in Atlanta, said Kattrina Richardson, director of strategic accounts for Cardinal Health.
“We made a decision within Cardinal to make sure we could get product to Tidelands and to make sure our drivers were safe,” she said. “We were really concerned if something changed or conditions worsened – we didn’t want to put anyone in a situation where we couldn’t get product to Tidelands.”
The team at Cardinal Health’s Atlanta warehouse worked until the early hours of Saturday morning to fill the health system’s order. By 3:26 a.m., less than 12 hours after the heatlh system reached out, crews had packed nearly 50 pallets of supplies into two 53-foot tractor-trailers.
By 4:45 a.m., three drivers – none previously scheduled to work – had arrived and set off for the coast.