A Life and Death Battle: 4 Days of Kidney Failure but No Dialysis

Orphaned as a youth in Bangladesh, Jamal Uddin worked in a ribbon factory in Lower Manhattan while attending high school, before graduating from college and ultimately finding a career helping people with H.I.V./AIDS.

Over his 68 years he had proved that he was a survivor, but the battle of his life would take shape in a Brooklyn intensive care unit as the new coronavirus swept the city.

He had a ventilator to help him breathe, the one piece of equipment everyone feared would be unavailable if the hospitals were overwhelmed. What Mr. Uddin lacked, his family says, was adequate access to dialysis, a common treatment for impaired kidney function that was not available in sufficient quantities to deal with wave after wave of Covid-19 patients arriving in ambulances at the emergency rooms.

His wife, Jesmin, and son, Shehran, grew increasingly anxious and then desperate over four days in April as

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An Overlooked, Possibly Fatal Coronavirus Crisis: A Dire Need for Kidney Dialysis

The call was about getting more machines, filters, pre-mixed fluids and tubing for continuous dialysis, he said.

The shortage of dialysis supplies in New York City hospitals was first reported by Politico.

The two main manufacturers of equipment and supplies for dialysis said orders were up fivefold, and that they were ramping up manufacturing as well as sending equipment and nursing staff to the New York region. Baxter, which is based in Illinois, said it also saw an increase in demand from China and Europe, and was flying in extra products from Europe this weekend.

“The demand spike was so fast and so high,” said Lauren Russ, a spokeswoman for Baxter. “We’re doing everything we possibly can.”

On Friday, Fresenius announced it was creating a national supply of machines that can be moved from place to place. “We are committed to supporting hospitals with continuous supply, particularly in markets most

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Coronavirus Live Updates: Rising Shortage of Dialysis Units Alarms Doctors

Providing dialysis to Covid-19 patients is the latest unforeseen challenge taxing hospitals.

Doctors are scrambling to handle an unanticipated crisis as a surge in Covid-19 patients with kidney failure has led to shortages of machines, supplies and staff required for emergency dialysis.

Evidence is mounting that in addition to respiratory complications, the coronavirus is also shutting down some patients’ kidneys, posing yet another series of life-and-death calculations for doctors, who were already dealing with a shortage of ventilators.

It is not yet known whether the kidneys are a major target of the virus, or whether they’re just one of many organs that can fail as the virus overwhelms the body.

Kidney specialists now estimate that 20 percent to 40 percent of patients in intensive care suffered kidney failure and needed emergency dialysis. Outside of New York, the growing demand for kidney treatments is becoming a major burden on hospitals in

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Dialysis Patients Face Close-Up Risk From Coronavirus

DaVita and Fresenius have put in place similar measures in recent weeks to try to prevent infections. No one gets into a clinic without a fever check and a discussion about potential coronavirus symptoms. Their patients and employees are now required to wear masks.

The companies have also decided to separate patients either suspected or confirmed to have the virus, putting them either in different clinics or scheduling their treatments on other shifts. The companies have taken the unprecedented step of agreeing to shift patients between their respective sites, if necessary, so infected or potentially infected patients are not spreading the virus.

Both companies acknowledge concerns over shortages of supplies but say they continue to have enough. Every patient is handed a new mask for each visit, the companies say, and workers have adequate protective equipment.

But some workers are questioning whether the clinics are making sure as few people

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