Dialysis patients wait on a lifeline close to home

By Holley Nees - bio | email

SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - Come April, Ray Montgomery will have sat in the Henderson Kidney Disease Center for ten years.

"I'd really be glad to make the move, by this time I'd probably be at home,"  Montgomery said.

Three days a week for ten years he has driven himself from San Augustine to Lufkin for dialysis, time and money he said he could have been spending elsewhere.

"I could take the kids out to eat...there's always something you could do with it," Montgomery said.

However, the new San Augustine dialysis clinic is only allowed to take one patient until the state comes through.  Nancy Womack is the only patient.  She said it is a gift straight from heaven.

"It's a godsend that I don't have to go that far anymore," Womack said.

The Dialysis Center said at full capacity, they can handle about 40 patients a week and right now, they are ready to go, and all they need are the patients to fill their chairs.

"We have the facility here, we have the capability, we have the people here, so why should our people be transported somewhere else,when they can get the service here, that's my question," said Musetta Hosey with the Department of Disability and Aging Services.

Darlene Williams at Memorial Health Systems in San Augustine said, "I'm not really sure what the hold-up is."

The state's survey may be unannounced, but they have been waiting seven months.

"It's my understanding we're in the cue to be surveyed, but they can't tell us if that's days, weeks, months or years," Williams said.

Waiting on the state is not her biggest worry.

"The hardest part for us is just feeling the empathy for them, knowing how ill these patients chronically are, and then to not be able to provide the care when we have the facilities,"  said Williams.

Until the state shows up, montgomery will continue to drive to lufkin every monday, wednesday, and friday like clockwork.

Williams talked to the state on Tuesday and they told her they would be here shortly.

Senator Nichols' office said they had contacted the Department of State Health Services to try to get them to speed up the process.

Representative Wayne Christian said his office will continue to press the state agency until the state resolves the hold-up.   He said it is frustrating that the state has caused such a delay.