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RLSH EXPANDING HEMODIALYSIS TREATMENT FACILITY

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With the demand for hemodialysis treatment increasing in the territory, the Roy L. Schneider Hospital has responded with plans to expand its treatment unit. Chief Executive Officer Eugene Woods said there already are new dialysis machines and trained nurses prepared for the next level of service. "The new machines purchased with Y2K funds have been fully installed and the staff trained."
Woods said, "What remains to be done is the construction to expand the unit from ten to fifteen stations. This will be done in the next four to six months.
" New furniture to compliment the newly acquired dialysis machines is expected in short order," Woods added.
The demand for dialysis is driven by the incidence of kidney disease, which Woods suggested is not being managed as well as health officials would like. Part of the hospital's strategy to control the need to continue expanding hemodialysis services, Woods said, is to begin focusing on public education about the things that lead to kidney failure.
"The diet and exercise level and controlling high blood pressure and diabetes are key elements," he said, admitting that the increase in patients requiring dialysis treatment is territory wide. "We can continue to expand the unit but we want to address the underlying issue which is the cause for the increase in kidney disease."
Among kidney patients in the territory are many awaiting organ transplants. The Roy L. Schneider Hospital, Woods said, is part of a network established to locate available kidneys and other organs.
It will now require some effort to include Virgin Islanders among the donors as well as recipients.
"Most of the patients that require transplants are on a waiting list and for them a transplant is the only option."
He acknowledged, however, the "changes in dialysis and the treatment technology allows the patients to remain on dialysis treatment for a longer period of time" while waiting for an available organ.

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