East Texas infant taken to Dallas for specialized care as East Texas lacks children’s hospital

East Texas infant taken to Dallas for specialized care as East Texas lacks children's hospital
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 11:38 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -East Texas is known for many things, including its presence in the medical care industry. However, there is one thing the region does not have: a children’s hospital.

Because of the lack of pediatric resources in the area, health complications are forcing a mother and her newborn to stay in Dallas, away from the rest of their loved ones.

From birth, doctors diagnosed baby Eivor Calvert with a hole in his heart along with other health complications, and since then, Shyanne Calvert, his mother, and he have seen themselves forced to stay in Dallas.

Calvert shares the reasons they couldn’t stay near home.

“They don’t have specialized anesthesiologists down in Tyler, and they also don’t have the children’s hospital, as well.”

From taking time off work, to not seeing her other kids and husband for weeks, Shyanne says a lot of sacrifices have been made.

“It’s been really difficult. My husband, you know, is having to work all the time to make sure we can pay our bills and stuff like that. And obviously the time away from home away from my older kids, that’s time I don’t get, you know, you can’t get back”

In 2022, data from UT Health East Texas and CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances in Tyler, revealed that 938 children had to be transferred to hospitals outside the region due to lack of necessary subspecialist, intensive care or monitoring.

SherryAnn Markham, Grandmother of Eivor, has been helping take care of her daughter’s other kids in the two months that she’s been in at Medical City Dallas Hospital. She expresses the distance has been hard on everyone.

“Kind of puts a depression on you. For us and for her, you’re used to having that family.”

For mothers like Shyanne, having more resources at home would make a world of difference.

“You know, I wish I saw more a hospital more focused on the children, and so that we didn’t have to travel so far to get the care the bigger cities get.”

According to Dr. Valerie Smith, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the UT Tyler School of Medicine, the road to expanding these resources starts by building up from existing institutions here in East Texas.

“That doesn’t mean necessarily building a big shiny new building. It means working with our partners that we already have here to expand the services they have available to recruit in and bring the right faculty, the right physicians in who can provide pediatric critical care and anesthesia and some of the other pediatric subspecialties that we need.”

Shyanne and Eivor are expecting to be released in the upcoming weeks. However, their struggles won’t stop there, as they will have to continue traveling back to Dallas for future medical procedures.

Although building a children’s hospital in the area is not out of reach, the biggest opportunity for change will come from our local hospitals coming together to expand pediatric resources most needed in the region to allow East Texas families to stay together in times of adversity.

For more information of data involving the current state of pediatric needs in East Texas, you can read more information in a study the UT Health School of Medicine released earlier this year.