Hospitals Team Up With Public Health Officials

Hundreds of Rita evacuees have gone back to their homes on the Gulf Coast, but many still remain in East Texas. They've gotten plenty of clothing and food donations, but many still need more serious help. That's why public health officials are teaming up with Lufkin hospitals to provide medical care in area shelters.

Sharon Shaw of the Angelina County & Cities Health District said, "We have been to every shelter everyday giving samples, giving prescriptions, referring people back to the health district that need further care."

The Burgess family evacuated to Lufkin from Beaumont. Pat Burgess has epilepsy and a heart condition, two very expensive medical problems. She brought all the medicine she already had before the storm, and never expected to run out.

"In March, I had a stint put in my heart and I have to take medicine for that, and they gave me samples for that too and I don't know what I would have done if they hadn't done that," Burgess said.

But you don't have to be an evacuee or live in a shelter to get free medical help. Angelina County residents can also stop by the Pentecostal campground and get medicine the same day.

Shaw said, "For anyone, evacuees or Angelina County residents, they need to be seen. We will honor old prescription bottles; if a person can even tell us what medication they've been on in the past and sit down with the doctor, work with those questions, we can assist them too."

There are medical teams here from all over the United States. They're assessing patients' needs and helping special needs evacuees get help for as long as they need it. Medical personnel will be at local shelters as long as those facilities are housing evacuees.