Once free of complications that could cause their life to hang in the balance, kidney failure patients dependent on dialysis are encouraged to take advantage of the kidney transplant programme offered at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC].
The hospital’s Kidney Transplant Surgeon, Dr. Kishore Persaud, made this disclosure recently even as he revealed that the hospital is currently awaiting the findings of an ongoing study in order to accurately determine the morbidity and mortality rate of patients on dialysis.
Kidney failure is the loss of kidney function, which includes filtering wastes and excess fluids from the blood.
Each human being is born is with two kidneys. However, since an individual can survive with one kidney each can donate to a person suffering from renal failure once that person is found to be a suitable match.
However, there are currently more than 100 patients accessing dialysis since they have been unable to find a suitable match or because of complications that inhibit surgery.According to Dr. Persaud, the GPHC is expected to gain a better understanding of the kidney failure situation once the study is completed. The study, which is being conducted by recent medical graduates will also help to ascertain the life expectancy rate of patients, once they commence dialysis.
Dr. Persaud said that based on continuous observation of patients accessing the services of the hospital’s dialysis department, a number of patients have died by the third year of dialysis. But the situation is even more daunting since, according to him, some patients pass in the first year too.
However, patients are only afforded free dialysis at the GPHC after diagnosis for a limited period. This therefore means that these kidney failure patients must seek dialysis at private institutions, a very costly venture.
At the private institutions, Dr. Persaud revealed that a single session of dialysis could cost at least $15,000. “If you calculate that, two sessions a week is $30,000…When you calculate their overall expense it is approximately $1.5 million a year.”
He added, “To keep one patient alive for 10 years alone would cost the patient [about] $15 million.”
The Transplant Surgeon moreover noted, “It is either one of two things – you live in the hospital or you live on your family’s money. [But] once the family money runs out, they too come and live in the hospital and that is what contributes to a significant high morbidity and mortality of our dialysis patients.”
However, the life expectancy usual improves once the patient undergoes a successful kidney transplant surgery.
The two main causes of kidney failure are diabetes and hypertension. The Kidney Failure Department at the GPHC has been working arduously to educate both patients and their family members about the importance of safeguarding their wellbeing through diet and exercise.
In addition to the nurses and doctors, the Department also benefits from the services of a
pharmacist, a social worker and a dietician.
“It is the only team in the hospital with all these personnel attached to it,” Dr. Persaud told this publication.
“Our dietician teaches the patients about what and how much they should eat; our pharmacist teaches them how to take their drugs and the social worker counsels them,” shared Dr. Persaud as he spoke of the potential of patients becoming depressed because of their condition.
Counselling is an important part of a dialysis patient’s life since research suggests that the individual is more likely to experience depression than the normal population.
It has been speculated that the impact of depression on the progression of chronic kidney disease is continuous and evident at any stage of the disease.
“The reason for this connection may be because depression increases inflammation in the body and inflammation promotes progression of kidney disease. Additionally, kidney failure patients with depression may not be compliant with medical treatment and may engage in unhealthy behaviours that cause poor medical outcomes,” one researcher has concluded.
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