Disasters Keep Dialysis Facilities and Companies Planning


A toxic leak into water sources in West Virginia and extreme winter weather over Canada and the United States had people working hard to keep dialysis facilities safe and operational in recent weeks.

A sudden leak of a chemical used in coal processing affected patients in and around Charleston, WV. The chemical had overflowed around the tank run by Freedom Industries. It then migrated over land and through soil into a river, about a mile from the affected West Virginia American Water Company plant, CNN reported. Tap water was affected in nine counties for several days, and customers had to stop all use of tap water.

The so-called polar vortex that descended over much of the United States in January also was a cause for reminders to people receiving dialysis to be prepared as road conditions worsened and utilities and deliveries were threatened. Dialysis providers updated websites with disaster preparedness plans. Fresenius North America provided this checklist for patients:
  • Create a disaster kit with emergency supplies and at least one extra 3-day supply of medicines.

  • Store a 3-day supply of food based on your emergency meal plan. Speak with your health care team about when to begin following your emergency plan. Limit fluid intake to 2 cups per 24 hours.

  • Patients with diabetes should ask their doctor how to adjust their insulin dosage if severe flooding or storms are forecast.

  • Make backup plans for rides to the local dialysis center.