A man who died last week after being turned away from receiving dialysis treatment was “noncompliant” with his regimen, the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) said yesterday.
In a statement, the PHA said Neil Johnson, also known as Neil Bethel, 25, who started dialysis treatment in October, missed five treatment dates in December.
“At the commencement of his treatment, Mr. Johnson received information regarding his diagnosis of renal failure, the requirements for renal replacement dialysis therapy and the life and death implications of the scheduling requirements of his treatment plan,” the PHA said.
“He was slated to have dialysis on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.
“Records retrieved from [Princess Margaret Hospital] PMH reveal that he was noncompliant. During the month of December alone Mr. Johnson missed scheduled appointments on the 3rd, 7th, 10th and contrary to media reports, he also missed his appointment on the 14th of December.
“When Mr. Johnson presented on December 17th for treatment, all available treatment stations were in use and he could not be accommodated due to a shortage of staff in the Dialysis Unit. He was clinically assessed in line with protocols and given another appointment date.
“Mr. Johnson was further advised to restrict his fluid intake to less than 500ml over the next 24-hour period, and to avoid high phosphorous and potassium containing foods like fruits, potatoes and citrus products.
“He was advised to return to ER if he experienced any shortness of breath, chest pain or chest discomfort symptoms that he did not manifest at that time.
“Mr. Johnson left the unit, but later returned to the emergency room where he was again triaged and assessed, and scheduled for emergent treatment at the Dialysis Unit 18th of December at 5 a.m. (the opening time of the unit).
“Unfortunately, Mr. Johnson arrested at 4:30 a.m. on the 18th of December after multiple attempts to intervene were unsuccessful.”
The PHA said patients who voluntarily miss treatments have to report to PMH’s emergency room for an assessment.
“Before a patient is deferred he/she is evaluated and triaged and then the next available time for treatment is given, usually within 24 hours,” PHA said.
Stacey Cooper, Johnson’s sister, said last week that his surname was Bethel but his hospital records listed him as Neil Johnson.
She claimed her brother attempted to receive treatment on Friday December 14, but was not served.
She said he went back to the Dialysis Unit on Monday and was turned away with 19 others.
The Dialysis Unit, according to a PHA memo, was in crisis due to a shortage in nurses, failing equipment and poor infrastructure months ago.
Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands has said the government has prioritized infrastructure repairs and upgrades to the Dialysis Unit.