What does it take for a man to refuse lifesaving dialysis? Despite thorough counseling, our team stood still as our patient continued to refuse hemodialysis for his kidney failure. Admitted because of his severely elevated potassium levels, he understood his imminent risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Yet, as the buildup of toxins in his bloodstream worsened his lethargic and nauseated state, he remained adamant that his family lacked the means to continue with the emergency dialysis he needed to survive.
For our patients of undocumented status, the tragic lack of access to