By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – Area residents who are prescribed chemotherapies can now receive their treatments in Woodville.
Tyler County Hospital now offers outpatient chemotherapy treatments through a cooperative effort with the Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas network. The service began at TCH on Wednesday, Aug. 29. Todd Senters, the service line administrator and administrator BBH at the Orange campus for Baptist Hospitals, said “Initially, we’ll be open one day a week, but as the volume of patients expands, we will expand to two days each week within six months.”
Currently TCH is able to treat four or five outpatients at a time, depending on which service is being performed, Senters said.
The availability of the service in Tyler County will be beneficial to many patients who have had to drive to Beaumont or Lufkin to receive chemotherapy. “The first patient we treated was from Burkeville and she told us she’d been driving to and from Beaumont before. Now she said it’s so much easier for her to get in and get out and go on about her day,” Senters said.
Dr. Sandra Wright, TCH CEO said one of the biggest benefits for area residents is having the service close to home. “The community won’t have to travel to Beaumont or Houston, they’ll be able to receive these services at home,” she said.
Senters said he expects TCH to see 10 chemotherapy patients per day, with most being infusion-type treatments. He said some chemotherapies, given intramuscularly through an injection, don’t take much time, while infusion treatments must be given over a slower duration of time. Some infusion treatments take two or three hours, he said.
“It just depends on what the medication is and how quickly it can be given. Some patients can get in and out in 15 minutes and some can in two or three hours.”
Senters said chemotherapy is used for a number of chronic health issues and not limited to cancer. Through the hospital, patients can be treated for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and infections, as well as receive infusions to strengthen bones. “We offer treatments that aren’t typically performed in a doctor’s office,” he said.
For patients who have received a cancer diagnosis and are prescribed chemotherapy, Senters said support of family, friends and other survivors is key, along with treatment, for survival.
“You cannot keep it bottled up. There are treatments options out there, and that’s what we are out here to do, regardless of what the diagnosis might be,” he said.
“The earlier we diagnose, the more treatment options we have available.”
Senters added that through the Baptist Hospital network, cancer survivors are put in contact with those going through treatments to provide support. “We link those individuals together so they can have a shoulder to lean on,” he said. “We need to work with patients to identify what their options are. They need to have hope.”
Wright said the hospital has been looking into offering the services for around nine months. Now that they are available she said “We’re so grateful to be able to have those services provided in our community and at our hospital.”
“We’re there to care for the community and help strengthen the healthcare services that are available to the community,” Senters said.