BY CARMEN CARTAGENA
AUG. 24, 2022 3:45 PM PT
Vote Yes on Proposition 29 on the Nov. 8 ballot would make California dialysis clinics have certain reporting requirements, ownership disclosures and at least one physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant on-site while patients are being treated. Here, two essays argue for and against the ballot measure, which is the third such try for dialysis regulation since 2018.
Cartagena is a dialysis patient who lives in Concord.
My kidneys failed 11 years ago, and I have been a dialysis patient ever since. During that time, I’ve seen firsthand how care for dialysis patients like me suffers in the name of profit. Dialysis care is in crisis and our lives as patients are being put at risk. We urgently need the changes under Proposition 29 to protect dialysis patients and improve the care we receive.
Dialysis keeps patients alive when our kidneys fail by taking out our blood, cleaning it and putting it back in our bodies. Most dialysis treatments take place at specialized dialysis clinics, three times a week, for three to five hours per session. Patients like me need regular treatments or our health will degrade quickly.
Dialysis is difficult and puts my body under a lot of stress. I’ve passed out during treatments and it’s terrifying. I’ve seen other patients faint, suffer strokes or have heart attacks. I’ve even seen other patients pass away, and it is heartbreaking.
When serious problems happen, most dialysis clinics just call 911. But the ambulance might not arrive in time to get us to a hospital. We need a doctor on-site who can handle life-or-death situations in an emergency.