Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 31, 2014

Fresenius Medical Care of the two Virginias hosts open house

BLUEFIELD — The staff and management of Fresenius Medical Care of the Two Virginias welcomed the community as well as patients to an open house on Sunday at the new dialysis care facility on Bluefield Avenue.

The new center has 20 dialysis stations — four more than the 16 stations at the center’s previous site on Cherry Street. The center has 22 staff members and is served by four doctors.

“We’re happy we could do this for the community,” Richard Rice, regional vice president, East Blue Ridge Mountain Region of Fresenius Medical Care said during a tour of the facility. “This is an excellent location. We’re close to the hospital and we’re inside the city. We also offer home dialysis.”

“This is a state-of-the-art facility and offers the best dialysis available today,” Dr. M. Sekkarie, medical director of the center, said. “We have a spacious treatment room and an isolated treatment room for patients with hepatitis B.”

Sekkarie and Rice were eager to show some of the behind-the-scenes operations of the center that make it a state-of-the-art facility including the Isopure water purification system that takes the city water and passes it through several additional purification steps.

“During dialysis, we use one liter of water per minute,” Sekkarie said. “We use 240 liters or 60 gallons of water for each treatment. It’s a sophisticated purification system,” Rice said. “Each machine serves four patients every day. We serve close to 80 patients here. Up until 1960, everyone with these diseases died. In the U.S. now, there are more than 300,000 patients alive because of dialysis.”

Patients receive three dialysis treatments each week with some coming to the center on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and others receiving treatments on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with two shifts working each day.

Charlotte Wright, of Bland, Va., visited during the open house. She has been a dialysis patient for 16 years. She started receiving treatments on Oct. 17, 1997 at the facility in Green Valley.

“I’ve been coming to this center since it opened in November,” Wright said. “I like it. It’s big, and very nice.”

Although Wright hasn’t worked since she started taking dialysis, other patients do continue working, and some of them find that home dialysis helps them do that.

“We are able to offer them the option to have dialysis at home,” Michelle Waldron, RN said as she demonstrated the ease with which a home dialysis unit can be prepared for use.

“It’s a patient’s choice,” Sekkarie said. “We give them the option.”

In addition to the tours, Fresenius Medical Care provided refreshments as part of the open house.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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