Patient recalls contaminated dialysis treatment at local facility

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by Lindsay Bramson / News 4 and KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on December 5, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 6 at 9:15 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- One of seven patients who had to be hospitalized following a contaminated dialysis treatment at a local facility says he feels lucky to be alive.

Sam Tolbert, 60, was receiving dialysis at U.S. Renal Care Monday when he says the technician dialyzing him became concerned.

“And they kept asking me how do I feel?  I said, ‘I feel fine’ and they said, ‘we got to send you to the hospital for precaution just in case. And that’s when I got here,” said Tolbert.

Tolbert and two others were rushed to Missouri Baptist Hospital in critical condition, while three others were transported to Mercy Hospital. All patients were upgraded to stable condition on Tuesday.

Of the seven, one of the patients was discharged. Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Tolbert remained in ICU for two days.

During those two days Tolbert knew nothing other than a chemical that wasn’t supposed to be in his body somehow got in. Now, U.S. Renal Care admits a cleaning solution was accidentally added into the water supply due to what they call a “one-time human error.”

“Somebody needs some more training because how did you pick up a bottle of cleaning solution and put it in the machine and you’ve been using these other bottles the whole time?” he asked. “And now you got some cleaning solution?”

Tolbert says he was terrified, not getting any answers for those days because he had no clue what happened and if he’d survive.

He says when he arrived at Missouri Baptist Hospital, nurses began pumping out the fluid.

“And then I was short of breath, scared to death, lying there, I was scared,” he said. “Thought it got in me but they gave me medicine and it started working itself in my body.”

U.S. Renal Care is located inside Cedars, a senior living facility.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the company said the facility should be back open soon.

“We are also communicating with the state health department to confirm the water system is absolutely safe before we reopen our facility in the next few days,” said Tom Wineberg, who represent U.S. Renal Care. “In the meantime, we are making sure every patient has a place to dialyze and our thoughts remain with them. Our top priority is the health and safety of our patients and we have taken added precautions to ensure this does not happen again.”

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