After Samuel Haltovsky, 63 of Brooklyn, N.Y., surfaced from a two-week hospital stay battling COVID-19-related pneumonia, his kidneys were in a dire state.
Coronavirus infections can have many manifestations, ranging from decline in kidney function to inflammation of the brain, in rare cases. While coronavirus patients who develop acute kidney injury at least have a chance of recovering kidney function, Haltovsky’s condition worsened to end-stage renal disease or ESRD.
According to the Mayo Clinic, ESRD means the kidney can no longer work to support the body’s needs.
After discharge from Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, he went 11 days without kidney dialysis.
“He was in an extremely critical state and it’s likely that if it had gone on any longer, he would have passed away,” Josh Rothenberg, chief operating officer and co-founder of Dialyze Direct, told Fox News.
Rothenberg said the medical center was “extremely overwhelmed” with a “tremendous amount of patients that needed dialysis due to COVID-19.”
At the point of ESRD, the kidneys can suffer permanent damage and patients require either dialysis or kidney transplant, which are highly sought-after and difficult to come by. In a fortunate turn of events, the Dialyze Direct team mobilized logistics and organized an on-site home dialysis treatment for the Brooklyn resident.
“He was in an extremely frail situation…his numbers were extremely high as far as toxins in the body,” Rothenberg said.
Rothenberg, and Jonathan Paull, general counsel and chief compliance officer with Dialyze Direct, told Fox News about the NxStage System One machine for at-home dialysis. It is staff-assisted with a trained caregiver and works through a connection to the home’s water and drain lines, and through a gentle process, water mixes with concentrated dialysate to wash a patient’s blood and discharge toxins, thereby replacing kidney function.
The connection just needs a link to a water source, like under a sink or behind a laundry machine, Rothenberg said. The treatment works in more frequent, smaller increments as opposed to other dialysis options, and can improve a patient’s clinical outcome from the comfort of their home.
Company leaders said Haltovsky’s condition saw great improvement.
“His numbers improved a lot, he is very alert, he feels better,” Rothenberg said. “He is stable enough to explore a transplant and he is looking forward to going back to work.”
The dialysis company reported a 114 percent growth in demand since early March and in the past 12 months, company officials said, an estimated 3,000 patients were served.
“COVID-19 was the opportunity for the healthcare community to play catch up to the technology and the innovation that they should have been doing, for I would say, the last decade,” Paull said. “COVID-19 accelerated innovation in different areas because there was no alternative,” adding that the pandemic further illustrated how the need for onsite home dialysis always existed.
Nursing home facilities, frail patients or those in demographics especially vulnerable to the pandemic in need of dialysis should be demanding this solution, Paull said. “They should be demanding home dialysis services.”