MANILA - The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) continues to investigate what caused some patients to experience chills while undergoing dialysis there last week.
The NKTI's out-patient Hemodialysis Center was temporarily shut down on Friday after 44 patients, or about 13 percent of the hospital's dialysis patients, complained of chills while undergoing the procedure.
The NKTI has since transferred the patients to other dialysis centers.
"Parang kunyari pag lilipad yung eroplano, eh yung piloto may nakitang warning signs, hindi muna pinalipad so all the passengers are inconvenienced muna. Ganito rin dito, shinut down muna namin para wala nang ma-increase yung risk sa kanila until we find the exact problem. And then pag nahanap na natin yung exact problem, paliparin na natin," NKTI's Public Information Office Chief Dr. Ricardo Quintos said during a press briefing on Wednesday.
While the transfer may have caused inconvenience to some patients, NKTI Executive Director Dr. Jose Dante Dator said it would have been much worse if they allowed to continue the dialysis.
According to them, some patients, especially those who undergo dialysis for the first time, do experience chills. However, this is the first time the NKTI has recorded a relatively large number of patients who felt chills during the same period.
They said they are closely monitoring the condition of the affected patients, most of whom no longer complained of experiencing chills again.
They also promised to reimburse the out-of-pocket expenses of patients who had to undergo blood culture procedure following the incident.
They said an express lane at the NKTI's Public Information Office will be provided for those out-patients who still have concerns or issues.
Cause still unknown
As of this moment, Dator said they still do not know what caused the incident since they are still waiting for the results of the tests.
But he assured that the hospital's priority for now is the safety of the patients.
"We're trying to be careful to address the issue. But I'd like to assure the public the main focus here is patients' safety. And we're now instituting the processes that we have established when things like this happen," Dator said.
The NKTI is looking at several possible factors, among them allergic reactions, problem with water source, water treatment, and dialyzer reuse.
"When we stopped operations, we started to look at all our processes, we started to culture all the water sources. There are about 10 sites po where the water passes through from the source to the machine, tinetest po yun...to detect if there's bacteria," explained Dr. Romina Danguilan, Deputy Director for NKTI's Medical Education, while also stressing that they regularly check their water sources.
Danguilan asked for the public's patience as they wait for the results, which she said are expected to be out by Monday next week.
Dator, meanwhile, assured patients that they have already done "all the necessary precautions including a thorough systems check-up."
"Para mong in-overhaul yung system... Like a brand new center," he said.
For now, in-patients of NKTI continue to undergo dialysis but with the use of a portable water treatment machine.
The NKTI aims to partly open the out-patient Hemodialysis Center by next week. "Ang process po ay we will go slow. And once this first batch is okay, we'll go full blast," Dator said.