KINGSVILLE TOWNSHIP —
The average age of a dialysis patient at the Ashtabula center is 62; the center has treated teenagers as well as patients in their 90s. One patient was on dialysis 37 years.
“We have many who have been receiving dialysis for over 10 years,” D’Silva said. “It is much safer, more efficient ... we have come a long way with it. We understand the physiology of it and why we do what we do much better now.”
Some of the patients are on waiting lists for a transplant; D’Silva they’ve had patients on a list for just a few weeks before an organ became available; for others, it has been decades.
“Our job is to keep them in the best possible health until they can get a transplant,” Steen said.
Stephen Gates of DaVita said that for people with kidney failure, dialysis is simply a matter of life and death. It’s also a substantial chunk of the spending by Medicare and Medicaid; while only 1 percent of that population receives dialysis, it accounts for 8 percent of the total spent by the programs.