Evacuee dies in Muskogee hospital after 30 hour bus trip to Camp Gruber

Monday, September 12th 2005, 10:49 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa church remembers a hurricane evacuee who died just after arriving at Camp Gruber.

A 58-year-old woman spent 30 agonizing hours on a bus to arrive at Camp Gruber in critical condition. She was taken to the hospital, but died a short time later. With her body hundreds of miles from home and her family also displaced by the hurricane, a Tulsa church took her in to give her a proper funeral Monday morning.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims says about 16 people attended Judy Khaton's funeral. Many of them had never even met her.

58-year-old Judy Khaton survived Hurricane Katrina and several days at the Superdome in New Orleans, only to be turned away at the Astrodome in Houston. She was on a bus for 30 hours, which doctors say could have caused the blood clot in her leg that eventually killed her.

A Red Cross volunteer heard the tragic story and decided to do something about it. She helped organize a funeral service for Khaton in Tulsa. Red Cross volunteer Deborah Jones: "I just felt that had that been me or my family or even someone I knew I would want someone to be shown the respect and dignity that every human being deserves."

Judy Khaton's family is also displaced by the hurricane, so they weren't able to attend Monday's service. Khaton will be cremated and her ashes sent to her brother, Kelly Regis. He told the News on 6, so much was not done for his sister, but he's so grateful for all that Oklahomans did to care for Judy.

The Red Cross says another evacuee staying at Camp Gruber died last week. They say the 68-year-old man had a pre-existing heart condition.