Publix saves Bladen County Hospital from closing during Hurricane Florence

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

FAYETTEVILLE — Bladen County Hospital was just minutes from closing its emergency department when Publix stepped in to save the day with a working generator.

During Hurricane Matthew, Bladen County Hospital had trouble with its generator. Not wanting to have problems again, the organization rented one from a company in Indiana prior to Hurricane Florence. When the power cut off, a rented generator was employed. After about five hours, it quit working.

Tommy Lindsey of the Bladen County Hospital maintenance department hooked up the old generator, which worked for about five hours. Local companies were contacted but were unable to get the generators working.

One of the companies — Watson Electrical — does the generator hook-ups for Publix stores, so Watson Electrical’s Powell Cross knew the Publix store in Fayetteville had a generator. He put Dr. Roxie Wells, president of Bladen County Hospital, in touch with Publix.

Maria Butters at Publix headquarters in Florida got right to work securing a tractor-trailer and driver to transport the store’s generator to the hospital in Elizabethtown. Publix also sent a fuel truck and a generator technician to the hospital.

“We were just minutes from shutting the emergency department down,” Wells said, “when Publix stepped in and saved the day. Without a functioning emergency department, Bladen County EMS would have had to transport patients to other counties for treatment, putting their ambulances out of service for extended periods of time.”

The story doesn’t end there, however. Monday, Publix sent someone back to Elizabethtown to adjust the setting on the generator so that the hospital has air conditioning as well as power.

Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal

Chrysta Carroll can be reached at 910-862-4163 or ccarroll@bladenjournal.com.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached at 910-862-4163 or ccarroll@bladenjournal.com.