Galveston Patients Evacuate to Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/19/08

Galveston Patients Evacuate to Lubbock

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The City of Lubbock took down the cots that were set up for hurricane evacuees earlier this week, but that doesn't mean Lubbock didn't receive any.

Twenty four patients and 18 doctors arrived Sunday night from the Transitional Learning Center in Galveston. All the patients transferred here are brain injury patients, so they require a lot of medical attention. To get them along with their belongings and medical equipment took three large vans, one pickup truck, three personal cars, and one moving trailer.

When Hurricane Ike loomed off the coast of Texas, patients and staff of the Transitional Learning Center in Galveston packed their bags and evacuated to Camp All For Us, a disability camp a few hours away. "We had a lot of people to move, and it's a lot stuff to move. There's a lot of equipment, wheel chairs, lifts, shower chairs, so it's like moving a small army," said Dr. Brent Masel. 

They each brought enough clothes for three days because they didn't think they'd be gone any longer, but when the storm passed, their home was destroyed.  They packed up again and headed to the Transitional Learning Center in Lubbock. "We found out Saturday afternoon, that these patients were coming and they got here Sunday," said Lubbock program director, Cindy Wolfe. 

The Lubbock center just opened a few months ago, and is only equipped to hold up to 16 patients, but 24 new patients headed their way. With the help of Covenant Medical Center, who provided extra rooms and beds, they opened their doors to the patients and staff from Galveston.

The move to Lubbock was hard at times. "Very stressful. A lot of these guys are used to normalcy and now it's changed for them yet again," said Wolfe.

However most of the patients stayed positive about the 12 hour drive to Lubbock. "My memory is so bad that I could do it 28 times and not know it. It was easy if I don't remember. That's the way I look at it" said patient Jeff Smith with a smile.

They plan to stay positive while they continue their rehabilitation here for about a month. "There was a time when this started I didn't think I had a month to go. You know, I really didn't. So yeah, a month in Lubbock is fine," said patient Bob Nurczynski. 

The patients only packed enough clothes for three days, but they'll be here for a month so right now staff just keeps doing countless loads of laundry. The center says several groups in Lubbock already donated to them, but they could still use more clothes. Also, one patient asked for a keyboard to play while he's there, so they would love it if someone could donate a keyboard for a month as well.

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