Hospital dialysis unit temporarily closed

Patients sent off-Island for treatment.

The dialysis ward at the hospital is temporarily closed due to water damage caused by a pipe that burst in early October.

Updated Nov. 1

A pipe that burst at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has required the dialysis unit to be temporarily closed.

On Tuesday, Oct. 9, a water pipe broke in a utility closet, causing damage to the floor and walls of the hospital’s dialysis unit. The hospital’s communications director, Katrina Delgadillo, told The Times none of the hospital’s seven dialysis patients were in the unit at the time of the incident, but all of them have been affected in the weeks since.

The hospital has been sending dialysis patients to Fresenius Kidney Care in Mashpee to receive treatment. Delgadillo said that the hospital has been working with the Vineyard Transit Authority and the Steamship Authority to make sure patients get to and from the Island. The hospital has partnered with Fresenius Kidney Care.

Patients are personally escorted to Mashpee by two hospital nurses. The trips do not cost patients any money.

“We understand it’s an inconvenience. We are doing our best to make it seamless,” Delgadillo said, adding that she has not heard any complaints from patients. “We’ve been able to continue care for all dialysis patients.”

The hospital’s patients receive care from Dr. James Reimer on the Island. Reimer is also involved with Fresenius Kidney Care, and has been present with patients in Mashpee.

While the floor and walls received damage, Delgadillo said she did not know about any damage to the dialysis equipment specifically, but the hospital has ordered new carbon tanks, which are used in the dialysis treatment process. The hospital hopes to have a temporary dialysis department at the hospital up and running in two weeks until the regular dialysis unit is operational. Delgadillo said the process takes a few weeks for installation and tests to make sure the machines are functioning properly.

The cost of the new machines was hard to estimate because the hospital is still working with its insurance company and the hospital had already been budgeted for backup equipment, Delgadillo said.

Delgadillo stressed her gratitude for the VTA and the SSA, saying the whole process has been a “collaborative effort.” She said VTA administrator Angie Grant “has been wonderful,” and the SSA has been “very helpful” with weather concerns to make sure patients get on and off the Island.

Updated to change date of pipe burst to Tuesday and that two nurses accompany patients off Island. — Ed.