MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — People normally think about food as part of their hurricane preparations, but people who need regular dialysis treatments can face life-threatening challenges in that scenario.
Fresenius Kidney Care, a national renal-care provider with locations along the Grand Strand, has an emergency preparedness plan for when patients are forced to evacuate.
“If they evacuate, they go wherever they are ending up and then they call the number and find another clinic to get treatment as an emergency patient,” said Jen Willoughby, the company’s director of operations for the Myrtle Beach area. “But it’s important for them to go somewhere that they are not likely to be in a flooded area where they are stranded or anything like that, because they have to be able to drive to a clinic, so it’s important for them to have a plan to get somewhere.”
Willoughby said transportation to and from clinics can be an issue during harsh weather.
“Those entities tend to shut down, and so all of our patients that rely on those type of transportations sources, whether it’s ambulance transport or some sort of bus transport, they are often not available,” Willoughby said. “So then you have these patients that could be in a crisis if they can’t get transportation.”
If a clinic is unable during inclement weather, Willoughby said it can be difficult to decide on the precautionary measures the clinic should take to accommodate patients.
“The trickiest parts when we had real hurricanes is the fact that the predictions change so frequently, and our focus is to try to get the patients, every single patient, treatment as late as possible leading up to it because it can only go a couple days without a treatment before someone would get into a bad situation of being quite sick or possibly dying,” Willoughby said.