Of the hundreds of thousands evacuating from Hurricane Rita, many of those are nursing home patients. Today, about 150 patients from the Galveston area were brought to Longview. One of the patients, unfortunately, did not make it. Nursing home officials say the man died in Nacogdoches, but are not sure what the cause of death is at this time. The group says it spent 30 hours on the road to get to safety.
Thirty-eight seniors from the Texas gulf coast are now calling the Crest Care Nursing Center in Longview home. Two different nursing homes brought their patients there. Some came by bus, others came in ambulances or vans. "We're as full as we can get right now," says Joan Freisen, the Director of Operations at Crest Care.
Crest Care officials say the journey to safety was a long, exhausting one. "The patients were very frail. We had quite a few in their late 80's or early 90's. We had fractured hips, and there were people standing up in a bus for 30 something hours," said Freisen. The trip took its toll on some of the evacuees. One woman was crying uncontrollably. "It's going to be OK," said one of the bus drivers to her. Other evacuees were fortunate enough to have family members travel to meet them, so that they won't weather Hurricane Rita alone.
The Crest Care Center says it is out of room. But, the center director says it's directing people in need to other nursing homes.