HOUSTON ― By Monday evening, Dr. Michael Braun, chief of the pediatric nephrology center at Texas Children’s Hospital, was getting nervous. Hurricane Harvey had flooded the city, leaving many roads impassable and stranding thousands of people in their homes.
By Melissa Jeltsen, Andy Campbell
It had already been three days since the storm hit. For dozens of his young patients, going multiple days without treatment could be deadly.
Braun’s center is one of the country’s largest clinics for children with kidney failure, providing care for babies through young adults. His patients rely on dialysis, a treatment that filters blood to remove waste and excess fluid, to stay alive. They need the treatment three to four days a week, with a maximum of two days between sessions. And without it, they can suffer severe consequences: hypertension, headaches, chest pain, vomiting and ultimately death.
He called Dr. Rita Swinford, the medical director of the pediatric dialysis unit at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, which is located just four blocks away in an area of southwest Houston known for its medical facilities. Swinford was also panicking. Between their two units, they cared for virtually every child on dialysis in southeast Texas.
Braun’s patients had gotten their last treatment on Saturday, before the worst of the storm hit the city; Swinford’s had been treated on Friday. Time was running out, and they needed a plan. Thirty-three of their patients were critically overdue for dialysis and desperately needed to get to a unit… READ FULL STORY HERE