PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Southside Regional Medical Center is shutting down its Dialysis Center after two decades. The hospital points to a drastic drop in patients, but those who do go there are quite upset.
In terms of staff, the hospital says about 20 employees - nurses and administrative staff - must find other jobs. One dialysis patient who reached out to NBC 12 says closing the center is a great loss.
The dialysis center is housed at Southside Regional Annex. It opened 20 years ago to fill a void in the tri-cities area. Now, the hospital says other dialysis centers not connected to the hospital have opened and are able to serve dialysis patients.
But, it's the only hospital-based dialysis center, and patient Ebony Jones hates to see it closed.
"Our facility has real nurses," said Jones. "It's hospital-based. All the other facilities have techs technicians. They are probably able to hook you up to the machines, but if you get sick, what can they do? The can't administer medicine. This is a hospital, and we're right across the street from the hospital."
The hospital says closing the center does not jeopardize patient care. It says all centers follow the same protocol when responding to an emergency and adds the fact that this center is hospital-based is irrelevant to receiving emergency care.
About 60 dialysis patients come here, and Southside Regional says patients' doctors have been notified. Transitioning to a new facility should be seamless.
There are two private centers within walking distance of the hospital center that's closing, but that's little comfort for some patients.
"I was planning on being in this dialysis facility until I got a kidney," said Jones. "So, this is just too much. I don't even know which way to go right now. I don't really know. It's devastating. It's kind of devastating to me that they would close the unit you know and then give us such short notice. 30 days isn't long enough. It's a hard pill to swallow. I'm not going to have the same nurses. I'm not going to be in the same facility."
April 15 is the closing date. Southside Regional says it's in the acute care business and the decision to close this service is a business decision. It feels other providers are available to serve the 60 patients. It also says doctors are aware and working to get patients placed.
Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved