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To start or not to start - that is the question

Posted Jul 15 2009 10:08pm
This incident really brought back all the questions I have always had about my home hemodialysis and more importantly, whether I should start the treatment myself or not.

Whatever you say, there is an element of risk involved. But then, you can argue, isn't life itself full of risks? There are tons of people doing home hemo all over the world. Many people do it alone at home without anyone to call out to for help in case of an emergency.

There is one important difference between their situation and mine. Training. Everyone I know on home hemo has undergone four to six weeks of formal training. They are taught what to do in case of an emergency. What to do when something goes wrong. How to recover quickly from an error.

We are humans, after all. We are bound to make a mistake once in a way. The important thing is to recover from the mistake, take corrective action and get on with the treatment. That is one thing that I sorely lack. The ability to get out of a mess caused by a mistake.

Even techs or nurses in a hospital or dialysis center setting make mistakes. I have lost a circuit of blood once many years back. But since they have the infrastructure and the training to deal with them, it is is usually not a problem.

Also, since I am undergoing dialysis daily, the process is in itself, much gentler compared to conventional in-center hemodialysis. So, the chances of anything wrong happening during the treatment itself is much lower. The risk is of human error while starting and closing dialysis.

Yes, a checklist will help. I must try this. The only thing is, once you use the checklist for a few days, you tend to get complacent and not go through the list. Anyway, for a few days atleast, I am not going to start treatment on my own. Or at best, will start only when the tech is present.
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