­Patient: Local dialysis center like home

Published 12:01 am Saturday, January 26, 2013

Shown are John Gurley and Fresenius Medical Care Clinical Manager Whitley Harper.



Andalusia’s John Gurley depends upon dialysis to keep him going and to allow him to participate in hte lives of his four children.

Gurley, who used to drive some 45 minutes round trip to take dialysis treatments, said he loves that Fresenius Medical Care is only a 10-minute drive.

Gurley has needed dialysis for around eight years for renal disease, and has used Fresenius for almost five years.

Dialysis is a life-sustaining process that cleans waste products from the blood and removes extra fluids when a person’s kidneys fail. Dialysis patients typically require treatment on an ongoing basis unless they receive a kidney transplant.

“This makes my life a lot easier,” he said of having a local treatment center.

Gurley was diagnosed with renal disease while living in Florida, he said.

“One day, I couldn’t see,” he said. “I found out I was diabetic and had high blood pressure, which caused my kidneys to fail.”

Gurley said he was about 40 at the time.

“When I got to the ER, my sugar was 1,200, and my blood pressure was 300/200,” he said. “The doctor said, ‘it’s amazing how you’re still walking.’”

The new facility, located at 1208 West Bypass in the old Chamber of Commerce location, offers state-of-the-art machines, new chairs, 32-inch flat screen TVs and heated and vibrating chairs.

Gurley couldn’t stop talking about the compassionate and caring staff at the dialysis center.

“I give thanks to God for allowing us to have a dialysis center here,” he said. “I give thanks to the staff. They care more about the patients than a paycheck. As long as they can keep us alive, they are happy.”

Gurley said the staff’s help goes above and beyond just helping with the dialysis.

“They help with personal problems,” he said. “They take time out to make an appointment and make sure we get there. They give us special attention, and make sure we are doing what we need to so we don’t have to go to the hospital.”

Whitley Harper, clinical manager said that some 22 patients make their way through the center each day in two shifts of 11.

“Patients at this new Fresenius Medical Care facility will enjoy the benefits of our excellent, patient-centered care and customer service,” said Dr. Christopher Reid, medical director for Fresenius Medical Care.

Harper said the facility offers a traditional in-center daytime dialysis, and will offer a home dialysis program beginning in mid-February.

Reid will supervise the home therapy program, Harper said.

“We’ll have a nurse going to see the patients,” she said. “They’ll come in once a month for labs. The day they take dialysis, they’ll call in and tell their weight and everything else. This will be a great thing for those who have a job and can’t come.”

Harper said patients will go through specialized training for the in-home program.

As for Gurley, he said he’ll continue to take advantage of the clinical experience because it’s like home to him.

Gurley goes to the clinic three times a week.

“I come and get my treatment,” he said. “Then I go home and forget I’m on dialysis. I pick-up my daughter from daycare and we go eat. Then we’ll go to the park, play in the backyard. She really keeps me going. I don’t whine in self-pity that I’m on dialysis. She keeps me strong.”

Gurley has a 3-year-old daughter and three sons, ages 13,11 and 10.