In a most comfortable position they watch TV, read the daily newspaper, take a nap or have short and friendly debates with those whom they share one of their greatest life-changing experiences with. This light, spacious and fully air conditioned room is a common place for one of the largest patient groups at the St. Maarten Medical Center.
The majority of SMMC dialysis patients receive hemodialysis treatment for three hours, three times each week. Hemodialysis is an ongoing and most necessary waste removing treatment for a patient who has a kidney disease.
The treatment at our dialysis department is administered by a group of qualified nurses who connects the patients to the dialysis machine and monitors the treatment. On a regular basis, dialysis patients would receive a consultation with a medical doctor who assesses how the dialysis treatment works best for their health and lifestyle.
Since the dialysis department has been in existence at SMMC, Dr. Theo Jolles, an Internist, worked with the dialysis patients until his resignation in April 2013. Naturally, medical care continued with our dialysis patients, this time with visiting Nephrologists from Curacao. A nephrologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of kidney diseases.
SMMC dialysis patients have greatly appreciated the care by these specialists; three nephrologists have visited thus far. Their hopes are that a permanent nephrologist can be employed at SMMC. Mr. Reuben Jacobus, a fairly new patient who began treatment in January, pointed out that doctors’ approach of treatment are not always the same for the patient. A patient is more comfortable with one doctor with whom they can develop a doctor-patient relationship.
The nephrologist care has been especially beneficial for Mr. Jacobus who no longer has back pain which was contributed by a catheter that is now removed. He also uses less medication. This change has contributed to a normal lifestyle for him with little to no complaints.
Photo above: Mr. Reuben Jacobus
Ms. Patricia Pantophlet is also satisfied with the nephrologist visits and her adjusted medication. As a patient who has ‘difficult veins’ she has some other concerns. Ms. Pantophlet uses a catheter instead of an arteriovenus shunt for her dialysis treatment. For a shunt to be made she needs the care of a vascular surgeon who specializes in doing the procedure for her. She prefers medical care in her home country but this specialty is presently unavailable on the island.
Nonetheless, Ms. Pantophlet is happy that she can have her questions and concerns answered by the visiting nephrologists and the staff at the dialysis department. Though a shunt is a more preferred method in hemodialysis, she is comfortable and confident with the treatment that she is receiving.
Photo Above: Ms Patricia Pantophlet
Recently, the SMMC employed Dr. Gerrit Schreij as an Internist for 3 months. In the past, the internist would also treat the dialysis department, but this is not the case at the moment. The nephrologist care will continue for the dialysis patients, until a permanent nephrologist is employed. We have seen that this specialty is especially needed for and appreciated by our dialysis patients.
It is our aim to provide quality health care for our patients and we are pleased that they are satisfied. We will work towards sustaining and improving our care to this patient group and others on our island and neighboring territories.