Hawaii dialysis center offers help to American Samoa

Hawaii dialysis center offers help to American Samoa
Dr. James Ireland
Dr. James Ireland

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - LBJ Tropical Medical Center is the only hospital in American Samoa that does dialysis treatments. But the center closed Wednesday because of a product recall. The solution used in dialysis machines was contaminated.

"For sure there's no other dialysis treatments in that area and no other options,"  kidney specialist Dr. James Ireland said.

Ireland is volunteering to help if any of the 160 to 200 dialysis patients in American Samoa need to be flown here for emergency treatments. Some of them haven't had their procedure in three days.

"With people with renal failure, they can start dying after three or four days," Ireland said. "Within a week a significant number of people can be very ill if they don't get treated."

DSI Renal is also on standby. The company has nine dialysis centers on Oahu. It has offered 30 available appointment slots to LBJ Medical Center patents if they need them.

"I reiterated our position to help them that if they need to come to Honolulu or Oahu, we're willing to dialyze their patients," regional vice president Pliny Arenas said.

Healthcare Association of Hawaii is monitoring the situation in American Samoa in case it needs to coordinate care here. But Hawaii's help may not be necessary. A supply of dialysis solution was flown to American Samoa Friday by Hawaiian Airlines. LBJ planned to open at 1 a.m. to start treatments.

"It's important that if they don't get it open tomorrow people start really, strongly thinking about how they can get to Hawaii or to somewhere else in the mainland where they may have relatives to get help," Ireland said.

Hawaiian Airlines will fly another shipment of dialysis solution to Pago Pago on Monday.

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