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Life-Saving Dialysis Comes to the Big Bear Valley

BIG BEAR LAKE – State-of-the-art, life-saving dialysis machines will be up and running at Bear Valley Community Healthcare District (BVCHD) in December.

When last winter’s disastrous storms left no access out of the Valley, some residents tragically lost their lives after being unable to reach their regular dialysis treatment off the mountain. To ensure that this never happens again, BVCHD has acquired machines for emergency, in-patient dialysis.

Thanks to the generous donation of $100,000 from Ann Petersen and Leslie Pam, in partnership with BVCHD Foundation, two new state-of-the-art Quanta Dialysis machines will be in operation at the hospital for acute, inpatient emergent needs. Whether snowstorms, road closures, wildfires or other natural events that keep patients from leaving the mountain, BVCHD can now take care of patients in need of dialysis.

“Since this year might be a repeat of last year and we get snowed in, we need to address the most urgent need, which is dialysis, as our two fatalities were because the patients could not access dialysis in a timely manner,” said Ann Petersen, who delivered the check to BVCHD. 

Herbert Perez, 61, was one of the longtime Big Bear Valley residents that died after the storms cut of access to his thrice-weekly dialysis appointments. “The reason why I started it is because I don’t want any other family to go through what I’m going through,” said his wife, Brenda Perez. “I would like other people to get the help that they need, because I don’t want to see anybody else go through this, it’s a hard thing.”

The program will be headed by Medical Director Prashanth V. Kumar, MD, a widely respected Nephrologist based out of the Victor Valley. “I am proud to be a participant in the synergy between a visionary CEO, philanthropy to bring critical dialysis services to the community of Big Bear,” Kumar said.

“We are thrilled that BVCHD has selected the Quanta™ Dialysis System for its dialysis needs,” said Alejandro Galindo, Quanta CEO.  “The release of our Trinal Kidney Therapy™ software offers acute settings like BVCHD the ability to perform all hemodialysis modalities – intermittent hemodialysis (IHD), sustained low-efficiency hemodialysis (SLED), and bagless continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) – with a single, compact device. This versatility solution enables the treatment of patients across the acute care continuum, from intensive care to in-patient dialysis, simplifying the process for healthcare providers and potentially improving patient care through streamlined technology.”

BVCHD is standing up several service lines to keep Big Bear Valley Residents from having to travel off the mountain for life-saving medical care including; telestroke, on-site cardiology, on-call surgery, extended Urgent Care hours, on-call orthopedics, and more. But the tragedies created by the storms set a clear priority for Hospital leadership to find a way to bring Dialysis to our residents in need.

“This state-of-the-art advancement in service is not only lifesaving but continues our strategic trajectory and mission to enhance healthcare for our residents and bring services to the community, not the community to the services,” said Evan Rayner, BVHCD CEO.

The new machines are used for emergency, in-patient dialysis only and are operational at BVCHD.

“He would be so proud to have these in the hospital to help other people,” Brenda Lopez added.