Nonprofit Northwest Kidney Centers is celebrating its 55th anniversary as the world's first dialysis organization.
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA (OPENPRESS) Nonprofit Northwest Kidney Centers is celebrating its 55th anniversary as the world's first dialysis organization. The 8th largest dialysis provider in the United States, Northwest Kidney Centers is a leader in patient care, education and research.
The organization reached into its archives to assemble a collection of oral histories from people it has touched over the years. The short videos are posted on Northwest Kidney Centers' website to commemorate the anniversary.
On Jan. 8, 1962, in a basement clinic on Seattle's Capitol Hill, businessman John Myers settled under the covers for the night. He was careful not to disturb a small device implanted in his arm. It helped connect him to a machine that would cleanse his blood as he slept. Repeated dialysis treatment was the only way Myers could stay alive with chronic kidney failure, a certain killer before the new innovation. The three-bed clinic was called the Seattle Artificial Kidney Center. It has grown to become Northwest Kidney Centers.
Significant steps in Northwest Kidney Centers' creation and development have changed the face of care for kidney disease in the United States and worldwide.
• The organization grappled with limited supply and overwhelming demand for dialysis by having a committee of community members allocate treatment. A 1962 Life magazine article about the patient selection process spurred the modern field of bioethics.
• In the early 1970s, the dialysis provider worked with powerful senators who persuaded Congress to extend Medicare coverage to all Americans on dialysis.
• In 1967 the Seattle Artificial Kidney Center launched the first home hemodialysis program. Compared to other dialysis providers today, Northwest Kidney Centers still serves a larger proportion of patients who do their own dialysis at home.
• In the 1980s Northwest Kidney Centers was the site of the first human trials of the anti-anemia drug Epogen, and it opened the country's first retail pharmacy specializing in medications for kidney patients.
• In 2008 Northwest Kidney Centers formed a collaboration with UW Medicine to create the Kidney Research Institute, now a powerhouse with hundreds of papers published and more than 60 clinical studies underway.
• In 2012, Northwest Kidney Centers opened a dialysis museum that attracts visitors from around the world.
• Last year Northwest Kidney Centers held 623 free class sessions to educate community members about how to avoid kidney disease or live better while coping with it.
Today Northwest Kidney Centers serves nearly 1,700 patients in 15 dialysis clinics, nine hospitals and patient homes. In total, the organization provides more than 250,000 dialysis treatments annually. With a staff of 650, Northwest Kidney Centers is the largest dialysis provider in Washington's King and Clallam counties. It treats 78 percent of the people in its service area who require dialysis.
"As we celebrate Northwest Kidney Centers' 55 years of service, we thank all those who have trusted us to provide health care for them and we honor the leaders who preceded us," said Joyce F. Jackson, president and chief executive. "We are determined that coming decades will see breakthroughs in optimizing health, independence and quality of life for our patients, and for people with kidney disease across the country and around the world."
Northwest Kidney Centers is a regional, not-for-profit provider of kidney dialysis and transplant support services, public health education and research into the causes and treatments of chronic kidney disease. Founded in Seattle in 1962, it was the world's first dialysis organization. Now ranked as the 8th largest dialysis provider in the United States, it is known for high quality services, deep community connections and generous donor support.