Truman Smith Patients In New Building - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/2/05-Longview

Truman Smith Patients In New Building

After spending two weeks spread around in East Texas nursing homes, over 60 patients of Truman Smith children's care center in Gladewater are back in one building. For the past two days, patients who had been scattered at over a dozen East Texas nursing homes were brought together at their new temporary home, the former Meadow Pines facility in Longview.

"It's wonderful, we're a family and it's like your family is stretched out all over the world, and finally you have this big family reunion and everyone is in one place," says Truman Smith nurse Cassandra Fryar.

For the kids, like Cris Miller, it was a chance to get back to things they really enjoy.

"Fixing the puzzles, fixing the puzzles, I like to do it by myself,"  Miller says.

66 children are back together at the center, and for parents of some of the patients, the move puts their anxiety to rest.

"Well obviously as a parent its been very frustrating and so forth, but Truman Smith has done a great job and got all the kids to different locations, safe places. So hopefully they'll be back in their routines so that will be good for them," says Dawn Meadows, who's son Andrew is a Truman Smith patient.

For health care workers, it's peace of mind, having offices to work out of and knowing where they're going to be until Truman Smith is repaired.

"Just the not knowing how long is it going to take where are we going to go next what are we going to do, the kids are getting back to their activities getting back to school, and it's very normal," says Fryar.

Sadly, two Truman Smith patients have passed away from lengthy illnesses, one at Dallas children's hospital, the other at an East Texas area nursing home. Around 30 ventilator patients remain in the care of UT Tyler Health Center.

Donations of fans, radios, TV's and money can still be made by calling the Truman Smith listing in Gladewater.

Bob Hallmark reporting.    bhallmark@kltv.com 

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