Chemo hero: After weather delays chemo shipment, local pharmacist drives to Tennessee to pick it up

Good News

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — With the snow and ice storm that ravaged through much of the country last week, many shipments were delayed due to the weather — including life-saving medicines that patients need. One pharmacist from Southern Cancer Center went above and beyond to ensure their patients got the medication they needed.

The last full shipment of medicine that the Southern Cancer Center received from their distribution center in Tennessee was Feb. 9, the week before the snowstorm hit. They had to delay some of their patient’s treatments because they could not get the medication. Lauren Pettis, executive director at Southern Cancer Center, said, “So we kind of reached a wall last Friday and said we don’t want to put off patients any longer. We tried every other avenue that we could possibly try to get medication from another distributor, could we get them on another carrier… and all of those things led us back to a dead end.”

So the staff at the Southern Cancer Center came together to find a solution. Tiffany Mitchem, the Director of Pharmacy at Southern Cancer Center, had been on the phone with the distribution center in Tennessee all day. She said, “And it came down to, there’s no way we can get it to you. So I said, ‘Can we come pick it up?’ And without thinking they told yes….and before they had time to change their mind, I had already gotten a car and gotten my poor husband and we had already left. It was a do-or-die situation.”

Tiffany and her husband drove through the night until around one in the morning where they started to see ice, stopped, and then started driving again when it was safe. They arrived at the distribution center the next morning.

Southern Cancer Center’s patients were eternally grateful that they got the medication they needed. Emily King is a stage 4 colon cancer patient and says, “Being a cancer patient in a pandemic is very hard… very lonely. Logistically getting the medicine that you need to save your life is needed. So just very thankful that she went above and beyond.”

Tiffany says that the staff at Southern Cancer Center care so much about their patients that many of them would have done the exact same thing that she did.

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