by Tashun Chism
Linda Few says her mother, Opal, was in better health at age 91 than many people who are younger. So when her mother died during treatment at the DaVita Dialysis center in Lufkin, it shocked the whole family.
"Just because you get older doesn't mean your life stops. And my mama's life didn't stop. Not until Saturday," Linda Few told us.
Family members are awaiting a copy of the death certificate. They tell us doctors told them Opal few died of a weakened heart caused by blood loss. Opal is one of several patients who have died unexpectedly within the last month at the DaVita Dialysis center in Lufkin. Other patients suffered serious complications. DaVita Dialysis officials have voluntarily closed the center. They're also working closely with Lufkin Police to determine the cause of the deaths and complications. The Texas Department of State Health is also investigating.
"After the first one, they should have done an investigation. Why did they wait," Linda Few asked.
The Lufkin DaVita's sudden closing left 150 dialysis patients displaced. DaVita is sending them to several different hospitals and dialysis facilities throughout the area. Memorial Hospital in Lufkin is taking 20 of them. Memorial's dialysis center is now filled to capacity. Staff members has even created a third shift to accomodate the extra patients.
"This is of tremendous importance and it is our responsibility as a community hospital to care for these patients as well," Memorial Hospital Marketing Director Yana Ogletree told us.
DaVita's closing has left many patients's family members with unanswered questions. Among those are Opal Few's four great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
"There's three that live in the house and they're looking for her right now. One has cried all night. He doesn't understand why nanny is gone. We don't either and we'd like to know," Linda Few said.