Saturday, June 17, 2017

IT IS EASIER TO CRITICIZE THAN CREATE

Before publishing any editorials or comments that defame the reputations of companies and people, and prior to making comments that are just plain wrong and devoid of facts, it is hoped an editor, comedian or political commentator will think ahead and realize the potential consequences. This relates to the editor's note on RenalWeb.com, June 16, 2017, and a Youtube clip by John Oliver.

Getting to a point where dialysis is commonplace and can be safely performed thousands of times a day is an accomplishment that involves tenacious patients, devoted doctors and teammates, and yes, dialysis corporations. Each player has a role, and as a witness to how hard it is to make all of this look easy, I can proudly respond to the cheer of a CEO recognizing exemplary teammates on their “Night of Honor.”

It is easy for the comedian or the journalist to stand outside and mock and disparage us, accentuate our flaws, and begrudge the benefits bestowed upon nearly a half a million persons. What is hard is to recognize where we came from, and in my opinion marvelous to see where we are going.

Before dialysis, persons with kidney failure simply died. Dialysis evolved from cellophane sausage wrappers to acrylic hollow fibers, from washing machines to proportioning machines, and from a crude plastic shunt to the observation that fistulae complicating war injuries were easier to cannulate. Its development was the convergence of technology and necessity, and in the beginning, it was not available to everyone. The tone was quite different than today, as most people did not qualify for dialysis in the 1960s. In 1972, Medicare was expanded to include dialysis care, and persons with “End Stage Renal Disease,” now enjoyed the gift of survival. Through the years that followed, a series of milestones resulted in a procedure that is now streamlined, routine, and still not perfect. But, to think this is an easy gain is illusory. This is a challenging field where gratification and joy are routinely mixed in with heartbreak and failure. We take nothing for granted.

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