Pampa Regional Medical Center recently started an in-house dialysis program for patients who need the treatment during a hospital stay.
Dialysis Manager Rhonda Walker said the program is beneficial not just for patients in Pampa, but those from the surrounding area.
“There are a lot of dialysis patients in the outlying communities who, if they had to go in the hospital for any reason, they have to go to Amarillo,” Walker said. “We now we can provide that service for them if they have some kind of an illness or injury. They can come here, be treated for that injury or illness, and receive dialysis.”
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, beds were hard to come by in most area hospitals, forcing those who needed dialysis while in the hospital to be sent to other states.
“We had patients sent as far away as Nebraska and Montana because there were no beds,” Walker said.
Hemo-dialysis is an important resource for those with ailments that prevent their kidneys from functioning.
“There can be various reasons why you end up on dialysis,” Walker said. “Dialysis cleans your blood or acts like a kidney when you have end-stage renal disease or renal failure. They are attached to the machine for about four hours, and it filters their blood and cleans it. It does the job of the kidneys.”
A typical dialysis patient may have long-standing diabetes, high blood pressure or polycystic kidney disease.
“A chronic dialysis patient will typically go three times a week to their clinic for, usually, four hours,” Walker said. “We are more than capable of treating that if they were in the hospital.”
Having this program available in-house allows patients to keep their support group here in Pampa with them.
“You have grandma who is on dialysis during the week and her family members live here in town,” Walker said. “The family looks after her and cares for her. But if she has to go in the hospital, it’s very difficult. They are having to go back-and-forth between Amarillo or, what if they don’t have a bed in Amarillo. They have to go to Oklahoma City (or further). It’s better for the patients and their families.”
The new program also opens the door for patients who have suffered an acute kidney injury or have newly diagnosed kidney failure.
For more information on Pampa Regional Medical Center, call 806-665-3721.
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