Former CTCA Tulsa Patients Searching For New Cancer Care Options

Former CTCA Tulsa Patients Searching For New Cancer Care Options

Patients have been searching for new doctors since Cancer Treatment Centers of America announced it’s closing its Tulsa location a month ago.

Some have found new care, but others are concerned about where to go next.

Related Story: Tulsa’s Cancer Treatment Centers Of America Location To Close After 30 Years

"The day they announced they were closing, I started calling everybody to see who could get me in," said Lt. Commander Murry Estabrook.

Estabrook found out he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in January and got an appointment with Cancer Treatment Centers of America within 48 hours.  After they announced their June closure, he was worried he wouldn't have a place to go.

"There are just not 2,000 seats with the oncologists here in the Tulsa area," said Estabrook. 

Estabrook started calling around and got an appointment with Oklahoma Cancer Specialists and Research Institute. He is one of the 150 new patients to transition to the facility in the past few weeks.

OCSRI COO David Weil said many doctors there have even expanded their hours to fit new patients in.

"We want to make sure that when they come over here if they're in radiation treatment, or if they're having infusions with chemotherapy or anything that we are doing that we're able to get involved and help with that transition,” said Weil.

OCSRI serves hundreds of patients a day between its several partner locations in Green Country. Weil said they've also been able to transition some of those new patients to facilities closer to home.

"We've actually transitioned some of them to Bartlesville, to McAlester, to Stillwater and we are trying to make sure that we find what's the best home for them to be in,” said Weil.

"The doctors at both places truly care, the nurses truly care. The difference is I'm afraid the hospitals that are left are just going to be overwhelmed,” said Estabrook.

Estabrook is scheduled for his last treatment with CTCA this month and will transition to OCSRI in June, but said he's worried about the hundreds of others who are still looking for care.

"If you have an aggressive cancer, you can't afford to lose two or three weeks so that scares me for other patients," said Estabrook. 

Estabrook said usually 90 percent of those diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer only live for three to six more months, but he turned 70 on Monday. He's confident he'll be here to watch his orchard continue to grow.

"I am beating this. I am going to be the 10 percent that beat pancreatic cancer,” said Estabrook.

Estabrook currently runs the ROTC Program at Claremore Public Schools. He said he's staying strong for his family and his students.

"If I didn't have the students to go see and I didn't have a cause like this, I'd probably sit down and feel sorry for myself and I'd lose instead of beating it, and I'm gonna beat it,” said Estabrook.

Estabrook said he's also concerned about the hundreds of doctors and nurses from CTCA who are looking for new jobs.

The facility is closing its doors on June 1.