In the 12 years I cared for my mother and father during their dialysis treatments, I saw patients bleed out in their chairs, faint, and throw up regularly. I saw chairs stained with blood; patient care techs cleaning up machines that discharged fluids while trying to tend to other patients; and a steady stream of ambulances carrying away ill patients.
After years of getting treatment at an independent dialysis clinic, a change to their insurance policy meant that both of my parents had to move to a new clinic chain in a suburb outside Los Angeles. That’s when things got worse. They went from a clinic where the staff and patients felt like family to a clinic where it felt like they were just another body. After treatment they were quickly moved out of their chairs to make room for the next one. The differences were so sharp that my mom really struggled at her new clinic. After a few years at the new clinic she passed away from a stroke.