ACH performs first in-patient dialysis
By By Paul Keane
Linda Carter bears the same name as the famous actress, and this week she feels a little like a "Wonder Woman."
That's because Carter on Wednesday became the first-ever in-patient dialysis patient at Atmore Community Hospital. Carter was the first receipient of a new program that will allow dialysis patients to receive treatment while they are hospitalized at ACH.
"It's a relief for me," Carter said Thursday morning. "It's a much shorter trip for me now when I'm in the hospital."
Carter said that traditional outpatient dialysis – done at various locations in Atmore – is nice, but it can be tricky if you are hospitalized for any reason. Carter has been hospitalized before due to a heart condition, making dialysis a difficult proposition, as transportation to Pensacola or Mobile had to be arranged to facilities that offered in-patient dialysis.
"(With outpatient dialysis), if you miss an appointment, you don't know when you might be able to get back in," Carter said. "When you're in the hospital, it makes it difficult to go to (outpatient) dialysis, so this is a big relief.
"It helps my family, and it really helps my sister who normally goes with me. Now, we don't have to go to Pensacola, and she was delighted."
Bob Gowing, adminstrator at ACH, says that in-patient dialysis is a big positive step for his facility.
"It's important to have in-patient dialysis at a hospital," he said. "There are a high number of nephrology, or kidney, disease in Escambia County. A number of those patients, from time to time, will develop pneumonia or cardiac problems that require them to be hospitalized for three or four days. That interferes with their normal dialysis treatments.
"Fortunately, we've been able to work out an agreement with our local outpatient facilities, and with Dr. Clyde Pence and Dr. Richard Mazey helping us, we've been able to make this work. The clinics here have worked well with us in getting this established."
Carter's primary care physician, Dr. Jim Dixon, likes the fact his patients don't have to leave the hospital to receive their regularly schedule dialysis treatments.
"It's very convenient," he said. "It means there is an increased continuity of patient-doctor relationship, and you have a better sense that your patients are being given the best care possible.
"It's very convenient for the families, and it gives us all the ability to provide more rounded care for the patient."
Laura Updike – a nurse in the intensive care unit at ACH and the nurse who assisted with Wednesday's diaylsis treatment – echoed similar sentiments.
"In the past, for acute cases, we had to arrange to have patients transported to Mobile or Pensacola," she said. "Over the past year, in my personal experience, we've had five or six patients in ICU who had to be transported.
"But this is so much more convenient for the patients and their families. The clinic brings in their equipment and machines, and we have the monitoring equipment already in place to monitor the signs that we're working with to treat the reason they are in ICU. We only had to fix, or modify, one drain to allow for us to use the room here at the hospital, and it's worked very well."