The Sharp End Of The Needle


Robin Fields reports on the appalling state of kidney dialysis in the US, especially among Medicare patients:

Taxpayers spend more than $20 billion a year to care for those on dialysisabout $77,000 per patient, more, by some accounts, than any other nation. Yet the United States continues to have one of the industrialized world’s highest mortality rates for dialysis care. ... 

Conditions within clinics are sometimes shockingly poor. I examined inspection records for more than 1,500 clinics in California, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas from 2002 to 2009. Surveyors came across filthy or unsafe conditions in almost half the units they checked. At some, they found blood encrusted in the folds of patients’ treatment chairs or spattered on walls, floors, or ceiling tiles. Ants were so common at a unit in Durham, North Carolina, that when a patient complained, a staffer just handed him a can of bug spray.

(Photo by Flickr user Canuckshutterer "Bill" (W.J. Gibson))