Lakeshore General Hospital ranks top in renal care
by Rhonda Massad
West Island patients suffering from kidney disease no longer have to travel to downtown hospitals to receive dialysis treatments. They can be treated right here at the Lakeshore General Hospital (LGH) by the expanding Nephrology Division. A total of 140 patients are currently being treated in hemodialysis under the care of four nephrologists with a fifth specialist to join the LGH team shortly. There 106 patients are being monitored following kidney transplants. The new specialist will mean less wait times for the 50 new consultations each week.
“With an aging population we see a growing need for renal care,” explained Dr. Rolf Loertscher, the director of the nephrology unit at the LGH, “The hospital’s territory includes around 350,000 people. Our average patient is 74 years of age. Though many seniors are included in the 50,000 who are suffering from kidney disease right now, there are younger people who suffer as well.”
West Islander Michael Vietri is one of those cases. Vietri experienced many typical symptoms of kidney disease including exhaustion, fevers, and confusion for months before he finally went to the Emergency Room.
“We had a three-month-old,” Vietri said during an interview at LGH. “Tired is part of family life. The path to LGH was not an obvious one. I was told not to go there, but in the end, it was the best place for me. I was admitted within one hour of arrival in the ER. I have received excellent care, and I was able to manage my treatments easily because I was close to home.”
Vietri was lucky to have a kidney transplant within a year of his diagnosis. Though the transplant itself took place at the Royal Victoria Hospital after being on the transplant list for only one week. Vietri’s pre and post care took place at LGH.
“This would not have been possible not so long ago,” Loertscher stated. “It has taken some hard work, but I have had great support. West Island health authority CEO Benoit Morin has the same vision for this hospital as I do so we are getting things done.”
Under Loertscher’s vision, LGH now has pre and post transplant treatment available as well as peritoneal treatments. As of September, there will be an additional nephrologist. Nurses will be added to the team once the new specialist’s needs are outlined. It is around the increasing needs in this domain that a substantial hub of services has developed itself into a comprehensive renal care program, which offers a wide range of assessments and treatments to take care patients with renal disease.