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Doing the work that your kidneys can't

February 10, 2014  | DaVita in the News
This is not how Robert McCaskill, age 60, pictured retirement.

“My kidneys failed due to untreated high blood pressure,” he said.

Neglect landed him in a chair hooked up to a dialysis machine. He was there again Friday at the new DaVita Dialysis center in southwestern Sioux Falls. The machine cycles blood out of his body, runs it through a cleansing process that healthy kidneys usually would do, then returns it to his body. It’s a four-hour sit each time, and it happens three times a week. He’s been at it for six years.

The stories change from chair to chair and are common enough in Sioux Falls to support a growing segment of the medical industry. About one-tenth of the population is estimated to have kidney failure ranging from inefficiency to total shutdown. Some of it is unavoidable for genetic reasons. Some of it ties to diet, hypertension and poor habits. Ignoring the problem can be fatal, while addressing it can lead to dialysis.

DaVita, a word meaning “the life,” is an international chain with more than 2,000 units in 11 countries. It opened in Sioux Falls in 1995 with a center on the Avera McKennan Hospital campus. It was there 18 years before moving in December to a mall at 2326 W. 69th St. The center had an open house last week to show its 12 hemodialysis suites and six home training suites.

DaVita also will offer an after-hours option new to Sioux Falls starting Feb. 17. Patients will be able to come in at the end of the day and use one of six beds for a six-hour treatment purposely designed to slow the cleansing process.
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