by Gary Peterson
Weather professionals are calling hurricane Sandy an unprecedented storm. In terms of disasters, we will be in uncharted territory. Millions could be without their usual supplies of power, fuel, and food for many days. Many unanticipated things will likely happen. Civil disorder is a possibility.
While trying to meet the needs of dialysis patients in such a complex environment, problems and mistakes are to be expected. One of them, however, should not be the withholding of information from patients and the medical professionals trying to help them. While withholding some information about food and fuel may be necessary during disasters for security reasons, it should not be used as a blanket excuse that limits dialysis patients’ choices and -- conveniently in the end -- ensures patient hoarding and corporate profiteering during disasters.
During natural disasters, everyone seeks as much information as possible to either protect themselves and their families or to help others. This is not the time for KCER (web site) to withhold information and limit access to their conference calls. This is not the time for focusing on managing the positive and negative publicity about KCER, the largest dialysis providers, and their joint planning and activities.
For the benefit of the patients and to maximize the assistance from the medical community, KCER should open its daily conference calls to all interested parties, not on a “by invitation only” basis. (They began this practice during hurricane Issac two months ago after RenalWEB reported that patient tracking through CROWNWeb wasn't working.) KCER should also make information about dialysis clinic closures available to multiple nephrology news web sites, not just to one web site that has been maintained on a part-time basis.