Taiwanese dialysis patient visiting Okinawa grounded by typhoon saved by Okinawan doctors who teamed up to rush him supplies

Taiwanese dialysis patient visiting Okinawa grounded by typhoon saved by Okinawan doctors who teamed up to rush him supplies

Guan-Ren Cheng (front row, second from the left) at ease after receiving his dialysis fluid. Pictured thanking the group of doctors and others who worked together to help him. September 6, Naha

September 8, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

A Taiwanese dialysis patient who was forced to spend the night in Okinawa after flights were grounded with Typhoon No. 13 approaching was able to avoid an emergency when doctors and pharmaceutical companies in Okinawa teamed up to secure his dialysis fluid. Guan-Ren Cheng, 50, who was travelling in Okinawa with his family, had used the reminder of the extra dialysis fluid that he had brought with him the day before. On the evening of September 6, the dialysis fluid he had ordered from a company in Tokyo arrived, for which he gave thanks, “I had stopped eating. I was very happy.”

Artificial dialysis is a treatment method for people whose kidneys cannot dispose of unwanted particles from their bloodstream due to decreased kidney function. Cheng undergoes peritoneal dialysis, where dialysis fluid is injected through the peritoneal cavity in the abdomen around the intestines in order to remove pollutants from the blood stream. It is necessary to perform the exchange four-to-five times per day, and was treatment was being continued while travelling. If treatment is stopped, toxins can build up in the blood and potentially cause an arrhythmia, which led him to stop eating the day before.

Cheng was traveling with a party of seven, six family members and a friend, on a two day trip to Okinawa. The pan was to return on September 5, however with the typhoon approaching they had been told they had been moved to a flight on September 9. Cheng contacted the hospital in charge of his care in Taiwan, and through the patient support group, was introduced to Sorae Shiroma, president of SORA Acacdemy Support, to help him as a medical interpreter to interpret Chinese as well as other linguistic support.

Shiroma has worked with a hospital that accepted Taiwanese dialysis patients last year. This time, she enlisted the help that hospital, Toyomi Seikyo Hospital, as well as a pharmaceutical general trading company, Daico Okinawa. Since there was no dialysis fluid in Okinawa that was suitable for Cheng, they urgently ordered some from a major pharmaceutical company in Tokyo.

Cheng said smiling, “While travelling I made sure to pack extra, however this time it was not enough. I am very grateful that they were able to get some here so quickly.” He said hopefully, “I would be glad if a support system were created that would allow people to travel without worry.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)

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