Your Health Matters: Kidney dialysis & organ donation

Allen Bush of Traverse City has been on kidney dialysis for the past seven years

Allen Bush of Traverse City has been on kidney dialysis for the past seven years. He says high blood pressure led to his kidney failure.

"I come in here three times a week for about three to four hours each time," says Bush.

Bush comes to the Kidney Dialysis Center at Munson Medical Center. He says he normally sleeps through the treatments or sometimes reads since they last up to four hours at a time.

He has to continue dialysis because he isn't a candidate for a kidney transplant. So, kidney disease is something he'll have for the rest of his life.

"Apparently it lasts as long as I do," says Bush.

Kathy Beckett is a registered nurse and the patient care coordinator on the Munson dialysis unit. She says for some people like Bush, dialysis is vital.

"Kidney dialysis is a life sustaining treatment for patients who have end-stage renal disease where the kidneys are either not filtering the blood or removing fluid or both," says Beckett.

Beckett has been working with dialysis patients for about 22 years.

"Our patients most of them have to dialyze three times a week for up to three and half to four hours. It means sustaining their life because without dialysis the toxins would build up in your blood. You could become fluid-overload and be short of breath," says Beckett.

For some patients who are eligible, organ transplants can be an option to help with kidney disease.

"For the patients that are interested in a transplant they have to go through certain testing from the transplant centers. It's very important because in Michigan alone there are over two-thousand patients waiting for some kind of organ transplant," says Beckett.

Dr. Ahmet Sevimli, a nephrologist with Munson recommends that people consider organ donation and becoming educated on the topic.

"It will be a big help to the community and the patients. We encourage and provide information about it," says Dr. Sevimli.

Although Bush is not a candidate for a transplant he hopes other patients can get the chance.

"There are a number of people here who could be candidates for it. so, it's important that they get the chance for it," says Bush.

Besides the Kidney dialysis unit at Munson there's also one at Kalkaska Memorial Health Center. Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital in Frankfort, will have dialysis beginning this spring.

For information about being an organ donor click here.