LINCOLN COUNTY, W.Va. (WOWK) – Pamela Smith of Branchland, WV is fighting for her life after she was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease six years ago. A few days ago, Smith learned that receiving treatments in the future would be more difficult.
Fresenius Kidney Care provides dialysis at several locations in West Virginia, including Hamlin, WV, which is a fairly new location. After almost two years, the company is now closing its doors, putting its rural patients, like Smith, in a tough spot.
Dialysis is a complex, tedious and time-consuming procedure that filters and cleans your blood after your kidneys have failed.
Six years ago, Smith became very ill, losing the function of her kidneys which sent her into a two-month-long coma. She was advised to begin dialysis and was driving to Huntington four times a week to get treatment which wasn’t ideal.
“And then by the time that you’re over dialysis and you start to come back, I’m so tired I’m about ready to just fall in the bed and because it takes so much out of you, it makes you sick, and you just don’t feel like doing anything for two or three days after,” said Smith.
The opening of the Fresenius Kidney Care center in Hamlin made things much easier because it was a 10-minute drive down the road from Smith.
However, Smith learned that that center would be closing on February 3rd.
Fresenius Kidney Care Clinic Manager, Benjamin Lockhart said “after careful consideration, we have made the decision to close the kidney dialysis center at Fresenius Kidney Care located at 12 Lincoln Plz, Branchland, WV 25506 on February 3, 2020. Staff are working diligently with each patient and their nephrologists to ensure seamless continuation of treatment, either with another Fresenius Kidney Care clinic within a 20-mile radius or with the option to dialyze at home. Additionally, staff at these clinics will be offered jobs at nearby Fresenius Kidney Care clinics.”
The nearest Fresenius Kidney Care center for Smith is at Cabell Huntington Hospital which is a 50-minute drive one way.
“They keeping telling me its because they didn’t have enough money, they’re not making enough money and the surrounding areas are not sending patients from there to up here where some of them live,” said Smith.
Smith is currently on the list waiting to receive a kidney transplant and at this time is unsure of what her treatment plan will be going forward. She cares for her elderly mother who has several health complications as well.