As the nurse manager of the Hemodialysis Unit at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Hospital, Darcey Ayala sees how important clean, safe water is for the treatment and overall health of her patients each and every day. Her team is responsible for hemodialysis treatment for between 200 to 300 patients monthly at OHSU Hospital and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
Hemodialysis helps rid a patient’s body of unwanted toxins and excess fluids when their kidneys aren’t working normally. With hemodialysis, a dialysis machine acts as an external kidney. Purified water is an important part of the process, helping with the movement of the blood, toxins, and extra fluid. According to Ayala, her team would not be able to provide hemodialysis treatment for patients without reliable water from the City of Portland. “Consistent, safe, and clean water is absolutely critical for us in the dialysis team to continue to be able to provide that care for our patients,” says Ayala.
Ayala’s appreciation for the benefits of Portland’s water doesn’t end there. Beyond water’s role in hemodialysis treatment, Ayala considers water vital to patients’ total health and the overall care they receive in a hospital system like OHSU. She says it’s critical for everything from sterilizing equipment to ensuring people at the hospital have safe water to drink. That’s why the Bull Run Filtration Project gives confidence that the water patients drink is clean and safe. “One of the things that’s really beneficial is having assurance from the City that an item such as Cryptosporidium is not in the water. This will help us ensure that the care we provide our patients does not inadvertently cause them any harm.”
As the largest hospital in Portland and one of the main trauma centers in the area, OHSU serves a special role in caring for the health and wellbeing of Oregonians. This makes water all the more important to Ayala. “Having clean and reliable source water is really impactful. We would not be able to provide lifesaving patient care without water.”