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Dialysis centers scramble to treat patients before Hurricane Lane's arrival

Dialysis patients are growing concerned about their treatments as Hurricane Lane nears. (Image:...
Dialysis patients are growing concerned about their treatments as Hurricane Lane nears. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Aug. 22, 2018 at 6:06 PM HST
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EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ave Aquino has dialysis three times a week. The 71-year-old has been has gotten the life-saving treatments since April.

"It's my lifeline," he said.

But that lifeline will be affected by Hurricane Lane.

Liberty Dialysis Oahu locations will close Friday because of potential storm impact.

"The concern obviously is the safety of the dialysis patients at the units and the staff if the storm is upon a particular island, and also if we are losing utilities, basically power and water," said Liberty's medical director, Dr. Jim Ireland.

Liberty's urging patients with Friday appointments to get treated Thursday.

"They're also instructing patients on special diets and fluid restrictions so in case they do miss one treatment it shouldn't be any adverse effect to their health," Ireland said.

The worst-case scenario for dialysis centers would be severe damage that forces centers to shut down for a week or longer.

That could endanger patients' lives.

There are about 3,000 dialysis patients on Oahu.

Ireland estimates Oahu hospitals taken together could treat only about 100 dialysis patients a day.

"The hospitals on Oahu just don't have the capacity. They don't have enough machines." he said.

U.S. Renal Care is Oahu's other major dialysis treatment provider.

Vice President of Operations Pliny Arenas said his Oahu centers will open early Thursday.

"We will play it by ear on Friday, based on the storm update," he said.

If the power were to go out several Liberty and U.S. Renal Care locations have emergency generators.

Not taking any chances, Aquino's listening to Liberty's advice to restrict his fluid intake.

"We just have to be prepared like everybody," he said.

For information on Liberty Dialysis storm plans, call its information line at 808-585-4606. U.S. Renal Care also has a hotline at 1-800-550-9653.

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