Nurse Injects Bleach Into Dialysis Tubes, Kills 5 Patients In Texas On DWN DIALYSIS | Dialysis World Nigeria - DWN
Nurse Injects Bleach Into Dialysis Tubes, Kills 5 Patients In Texas On DWN DIALYSIS
Date Posted: 15/Jul/2019   Deadline: 15/Jul/2019

In the United States, 15 percent of adults suffer from Chronic Kidney Disease, leaving them prone to heart attack, stroke and early death, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For those affected, dialysis centers, such as those run by DaVita Inc., are a godsend, cleaning the blood of those whose kidneys can no longer do so.


On its corporate website, DaVita claims its name means “giving life” in Italian. In early 2008, however, lives were being taken at the DaVita Dialysis Center in Lufkin, Texas. A rash of cardiac events and fatal heart attacks were occurring at unprecedented levels. When investigators found out why, it was almost too much to believe: Nurse Kimberly Saenz was injecting bleach into the dialysis machines while patients were still hooked up to them.


Kimberly Clark Saenz was born in 1973 in Fall River, Massachusetts, but by adulthood found herself living outside Lufkin, a small town in East Texas, a couple hours north of Houston. In fall 2007, she began working as a licensed vocational nurse at the DaVita Lufkin Dialysis Center. Previously, she had been fired from several former health care jobs, including a Lufkin hospital, where she was accused to stealing drugs and faking a urine test, according to the New Haven Register.


While Saenz was married with two young children, her marriage had hit a rough patch. In 2007, her husband filed for divorce and obtained a protective order against her, according to the New Haven Register. That same year, she was arrested for public intoxication and criminal trespassing after a domestic disturbance with her husband, although they would later reconcile, reported the outlet. She also suffered from depression, and by early 2008 had begun taking medications for it, according to court documents.


Dialysis treatment lasts around four hours; the patient is hooked up to a hemodialysis machine, which removes toxins from the blood before pumping it back into the body intravenously. The common course of treatment is about three times a week, usually with little incident. In spring 2008, the DaVita Lufkin Dialysis Center saw a mysterious uptick in patients getting ill and going into cardiac arrest during their treatments. EMS was called to the facility 30 times in April, according to CBS affiliate DFW. In the prior 15 months, they had only been called twice. Many of the cardiac events ended in death.


Following the first two deaths on April 1, 2008, DaVita sent clinical coordinator Amy Clinton to look into the incidents and manage procedure.


“I was on the site on April 2,” she would later testify, according to Lufkin ABC affiliate KTRE. “The purpose was for me to come in and look at the two events and the circumstances around the two cardiac arrests.”


Clinton instituted several policy changes, meant to minimize risk and protect against another death at the clinic. These included reassigning which nurses performed which tasks during their shifts, with some exclusively administering medicine and others doing cleanup and monitoring duties.


On April 28, 2008, Saenz showed up to work and was told by Clinton that she had been reassigned for the day to work as a patient care technician. This did not sit well with Saenz, who felt it was beneath her. “You could tell she was upset,” Clinton later testified. Other people reported Saenz being “teary-eyed,” according to court documents.


Source: Oxygen, DWN Africa.


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