West County Dialysis Center Sends 8 Patients to Hospitals

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TOWN AND COUNTRY, MO (KTVI) - The State of Missouri is investigating a problem that threatened patients and shut down a west county dialysis center.
Eight dialysis patients were hospitalized Monday after workers noticed these patients falling ill.  It happened at U.S. Renal Care West County Dialysis, which is located at, but not affiliated with, the Cedars nursing home in Town and Country. It’s a troubling situation investigators are trying to get to the bottom of.
For people with poorly functioning kidneys, dialysis can be a risky but necessary procedure.
Michael Kruse is an attorney with Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson, LLC who specializes in pharmaceutical mishaps.  He explains, “Your blood comes out, and it goes through a dialysis solution and goes back in. So if there’s any kind of impurity in the solution that your blood goes through, or if the mixture isn’t right, it affects your circulatory system, which is obviously extremely dangerous.”
Kruse says there are three ways a dialysis solution could become defective: either through faulty design, if it’s mixed incorrectly at a factory or dialysis center, or if an impurity contaminates the solution before it’s used.
Of these dialysis patients hospitalized Monday, two were outpatients and six reside at the Cedars nursing home.  According to the Cedars’ attorney, out of those six residents, one was released from the hospital, three were downgraded from critical condition, and two remain in the ICU. No word on the condition of the two outpatients.
The Senior Vice President of Texas-based U.S. Renal Care did send FOX 2 a statement that reads, “Yesterday, several of our patients reported not feeling well during their dialysis treatments.  We immediately stopped dialyzing patients...Nothing is more important to us than ensuring the health and safety of our patients.”
It is not yet clear who is at fault in this case, but investigators are looking at the water system which reportedly carried a contaminant, possibly a cleaning solution.
The dialysis center is shut down as of Tuesday evening, and patients at the Cedars are being bused elsewhere for their dialysis treatments.
U.S. Renal Care plans to start up again later this week, but only after coordinating with state and federal agencies.

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