Power outage worries Hawaii dialysis patients

Emergency Management Alert, January 6, 2009

Although most of the news surrounding power outages in Hawaii nearly two weeks ago focused on President-elect Barack Obama’s vacation, many others were concerned about the health of the state’s dialysis patients.

Only one of the state’s off-hospital dialysis clinics has an emergency generator, according to KHON2. Some patients were unable to receive dialysis for days, forcing them to go on a renal diet.

Even the off-hospital site with a generator was compromised, since its water treatment system was unable to work with low water pressure.

Fresenius Medical Care said they are currently installing plug-in generators in eight of the nine clinics in Hawaii, but in the event of a disaster the Hawaii Electric Company would have to install the generators into the plug-ins because of the high voltage, according to Fresenius clinic manager Evelyn Hipple.

Off-hospital sites are critical to handling Hawaii’s dialysis patients. There are more than 2,500 people in Hawaii in need of dialysis and hospitals do not have enough machines for everyone.

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