McCabe Dental...Overcoming the Odds

Gulfport, Mississippi was one of the Gulf Coast cities severely impacted by Katrina. The most forceful, east side of the storm slammed directly into the city and held it at bay for 16 hours— only to be followed by a 28-ft. storm surge that flooded Gulfport and its sister city, Biloxi. The result was stunning— unrecognizable. The city, as known, was a thing of the past.

The challenges were almost immeasurable. Hundreds of communities entirely lost the ability to function. Daily activities, once considered mundane, now, upon being nonexistent—were longed for; a trip to the supermarket, a stop at the gas station or a local library—not to mention one of the more serious aspects of daily life—healthcare. Without electricity, water, and the ability to travel to obtain healthcare, the mere idea of an emergency became terrifying. Yet, the reality of human need took the lead, and under difficult and most often very dangerous conditions, those who remained in the area knew that the call to action had to be heeded.

McCabe Dental Clinic was located on 605 16th Street in Gulfport when Katrina struck. All that remained in the aftermath was a concrete slab and a shingle notating the practice name where the thriving family business had existed since 1990. But—unbelievably—this was not the first time the practice had “weathered a storm.” You may recall the old adage that “lightning never strikes twice in the same place,” and, although this saying probably would not hold up under close scrutiny, the truth is that this was the second time that the McCabe practice was leveled by a hurricane. In 1969, Hurricane Camille lent her ferocity to the city of Gulfport. McCabe Dental Clinic became a memory—in the physical sense. Dr. Edison McCabe had established his practice in 1951—and, with sheer dedication to his profession and patients and a determined eye toward the future of his business, he rebuilt—without insurance or recovery services and advisors.

After Katrina, brothers Mike and Tim McCabe, who had joined their father’s practice in 1982 after graduation from dental school, set to work picking up the pieces and developing a new game plan for the business. “Gone was the beautiful office with the ocean view…but we had to move forward. The search was on for a building that could be converted into a dental clinic. Our choices were few since Katrina had destroyed or damaged almost all the buildings in Gulfport,” comments Mike McCabe.

On October 5, 2005, the trailers arrived at the Gulfport location. It was now time to focus on reorganizing the practice’s priorities. Equipment and supplies vital to delivering efficient dental care to McCabe’s patients were at the top of the list. Sullivan-Schein assisted the doctors in recovering some of their losses from the storm by contracting professional service providers to process and expedite the handling of their claims. The total recovery service designed by Sullivan-Schein consisted of three phrases: Assessment; Loss Measurement and Claims Management; and Recovery. By engaging the experts, the best class of recovery service can be depended upon for customers with a fee structure that is substantially below customary rates.

Scott Ottelin and Bobby Manuel, Sullivan-Schein Equipment Sales Specialist, were pivotal in advancing the project. This included a trip to Sullivan-Schein’s equipment showroom to review the potential choices for the operatories to be housed in the trailers. The doctors choose to use the Pelton & Crane line of equipment for their ops. The high quality of Pelton & Crane’s products will ensure them of the durability, easy care, and excellent functionality they need to rely upon to deliver their patients the highest level of care possible.

On November 7, 2005, the doctors saw their first patients in the new “modular trailers” dental clinic. “The modular trailers turned out to be a very nice place to work,” comments Dr. Tim McCabe. “After remodeling we had a total of 8 patient rooms, a large lab, 4 bathrooms, waiting and reception areas, and a kitchen. And, the Doctors have a very nice lounge and offices,” he adds.

“We are very happy in our temporary office, but we are looking forward to our new permanent office in the near future,” notes Dr. Mike McCabe. Upon completion of the permanent McCabe Dental Clinic, the comfortable and stylish “temp” office will be transferred to its new base of operations, concluding a very challenging sequence of events in the history of the McCabe family business. Incidentally, the McCabe family tradition in the field of dentistry is still going strong. Dr. Tim McCabe’s daughter, Brandy, McCabe Hyde, recently graduated dental school and joined the practice in June 2006—and, Dr. Mike McCabe’s son, Matthew, is in his second year of dental school. Good luck and much prosperity to a family of professionals who have the talent and determination to keep their vision alive “against all odds.”

Left to right: Johnny Nugent, Equipment Service Technician; Dr. Mike McCabe; Todd Carter, Regional General Manager; Dr. Tim McCabe; Bobby Manuel, Equipment Sales Specialist; and Scott Ottelin, Field Sales Consultant