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Belizean Nephrologist Speaks on Dialysis Treatment

Dr Ronald Hyde is a Belizean Nephrologist who is attached to the Arizona Southwest Kidney Institute and has found ways in giving back to Belize through his expertise.  Love News met up with Dr Hyde at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital as he was attending to patients who are receiving kidney dialysis.


“I was born in Belize and I come from a family that has always been very socially conscious and from a young age we were taught to try to help the country and society and so it was a very natural thing to want to help. For a long time I didn’t know how to help and I was encouraged by my family to make contact with the KHMH to find out if there was something I could do to be of help and I did and Dr.Longsworth and Dr.Coye said that they could use my help so I’ve been coming ever since. I’m coming just about every three months at this time and I see patients on dialysis but most of the patients we see aren’t on dialysis they are people who are newly diagnosed with kidney disorders or people who have kidney disorders that we’ve been seeing or have been seeing the other nephrologists and the goal with them is to delay their progression, to slow down this process of kidney failure to in the best world avoid the need for dialysis but failing that to make it happen more slowly so that people can enjoy their lives a little longer before they have to deal with the inconvenience and the cost of being on treatments.”

Dialysis has become necessary for persons whose kidneys can no  longer function properly and can come as a result of several diseases ranging from diabetes to hypertension.  According to Dr Hyde, most people don’t have early symptoms of kidney failure.


“People who have diabetes, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries are the people who are most often at risk of needing dialysis and dialysis is done when the kidneys are no longer capable of cleaning the blood to the extent that it needs to be cleaned and no longer able to balance the blood chemistry and no longer able to remove extra fluids so when people to dialysis instead of blood circulating through the kidneys to have these things accomplished basically the machine takes the place of the kidneys and now you’re circulating blood through a machine to clean the blood , balance off the blood chemistries and remove extra salt and water from the body. Most of the time people have no warning at all, in some people as I said one of the jobs of the kidneys one of the jobs is to monitor the amount of salt and water in the body so if people start developing swelling in their legs it can be caused by heart or liver problems but that can be an early sign that the kidneys are malfunctioning in some way but even when the kidneys are very low in function they are able to maintain things so well and people get used to their kidneys failing that people often have no clue they have a problem until they happen to get their blood tested and that is why the health fair that the kidney association does every year is so valuable because by getting a blood test you can tell whether your kidneys are in peril in any kind of way but unfortunately people can go along until the point of needing dialysis without knowing and they could easily have known and prevented or delayed the advancement of their kidney disease if they had simply gotten a routine straightforward blood test.”

Nurse Cathy Blanford is from Nicaragua and has been working at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for the last six years.  She shared with us some of the challenges faced by dialysis patients.


“One is the  not passing urine and then most of them the most challenging one we have is those that do not know how to control the intake of fluids because they are only allowed to take in a litre of fluids a day meaning if they are going to have a cup of tea that is also included in the litre, if they are going to have fruit juices and then when they drink two or three then they will come out like a fish out of water so then we have to deal with cleaning the blood and taking out the excess fluids from these patients.”

Persons requiring dialysis are in need of sessions at least three times per week.  A dialysis session can range from two hundred to four hundred dollars per session.