Here is a story about a man who is choosing to discontinue dialysis because the center he goes to is closing it’s doors. Makes me wonder that if home hemo were available if he could’ve made the choice to live!
This article about a dying dialysis patient just SCREAMS home hemo…your thoughts?
Elderly dialysis patient decides it’s easier to die
By Maggie Plummer
of the Leader
With the news that Polson’s dialysis center will be
closing its doors on Sept. 24, patient Jerry Paul of
Polson has decided to opt out of dialysis treatments.
That means he is choosing to die.
He’s not angry, he says.
He’s just plain worn out.
Moving to Missoula or Kalispell is out of the
question, and he is tired of commuting to Missoula for
treatments, like he did for nine months last year.
“It’s too rough, that traveling back and forth,” he
said at his home last Friday. “It’s no good. You’re
not back till 7 p.m. It was just killing me, so I
decided it would be easier to just give it up.”
That means he could die any time now.
His opting out of dialysis is not meant to be a big
show of protest against the recent St. Patrick
Hospital decision to close the Polson center, he said.
“It’s just my own choice,” he remarked in a low voice.
However, if the St. Pat’s Polson center had stayed
open, he would have continued his dialysis treatments,
According to dialysis nurses, it is always a patient’s
choice whether or not to undergo dialysis treatments.
Many folks have told Jerry and his family that,
presented with the same situation, they would probably
do the exact same thing he’s doing.
Currently Jerry is the only one opting out of the
treatments, but a second Polson patient said last
Friday that he may just decide to in late September,
when the local center closes.
On the day of our interview, Jerry felt tired but
“pretty fair,” he said.
He had already been off dialysis for a week.
He was relaxing in his recliner, his elderly poodle
Mickey by his side. He wants Mickey euthanized once
Jerry’s last treatment was on Wednesday, Aug. 18.
Two days later he mowed his own lawn.
“He’s a determined man,” said his granddaughter, Tami
The 84-year-old man has other medical problems,
including a pacemaker that keeps his heart beating and
macular degeneration that has left him legally blind.
About three years ago, Jerry’s kidneys quit working.
“We don’t know exactly why,” he said.
Born in 1920, he moved to Polson when he was nine
years old. “It was pretty quiet here then,” he
recalled. “There were wagon wheels and horses up and
down Main Street.”
Jerry’s adopted father used to run sheep down Main
Street when moving them from pasture to pasture. The
winter pasture in those days was what is now the old
part of Polson’s golf course.
He graduated from Polson High School in 1939 and has
lived in the same Polson home for 55 years.
He operated Wardrobe Cleaners in downtown Polson from
1946 until selling it in 1980.
All his life, he has enjoyed working with wood.
Jerry’s daughter, Sue Holmes, sids that she and the
rest of the family are not so much upset with St.
Patrick Hospital as they are with U.S. Congress for
“butting in” by creating new dialysis regulations that
are devastating for rural areas.
“They complicated the whole deal,” Holmes said. “They
pass regulations but don’t look at what it means for
She explained that last January the federal
legislature passed a bill requiring kidney
specialists, called nephrologists, to visit dialysis
patients once a week in order for a facility to
receive full Medicare reimbursement.
“It’s complicated stuff,” Holmes commented.
The two nephrologists are in Missoula, she said, and
they have to cover all four of St. Patrick Hospital’s
dialysis centers - Polson, Hamilton, Butte and
“No way could those doctors cover all of that,” she
said. “What does Congress have to do with dialysis? If
they’re not going to research the repercussions of a
bill, they had better not pass it. They should keep
their noses out of it.”
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