'From Miracle to Mainstream' Offers Readable History of the Development of Dialysis

'From Miracle to Mainstream' Offers Readable History of the Development of Dialysis

SEATTLE, July 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ Dr. Christopher R. Blagg was a young English physician when he moved to Seattle to be at the epicenter of exciting advances in kidney treatment. He would spend nearly 30 years at the helm of Northwest Kidney Centers, leading changes that echoed around the world.

Now retired after a distinguished career, he has written a history of the remarkable early days of dialysis and the first organization founded to deliver the revolutionary treatment.

An early chapter in "From Miracle to Mainstream: Creating the world's first dialysis organization" tells of a troubled physician in Seattle who woke up with a middle-of-the-night inspiration. Dr. Belding Scribner had an idea for a medical device that would move people with chronic kidney failure from their deathbeds back to everyday routines.

In 1960, Scribner's patient Clyde Shields agreed to have the device implanted in his arm, where it would allow repeated connections to a dialysis machine. Once critically ill, Shields returned home to his wife, three sons and his job as a machinist after having the device implanted. It allowed him to check back in for regular life-sustaining dialysis.

With equipment purchased from hardware stores, inventor-entrepreneurs working in garages and even an ice cream freezer company, the first dialysis routines were established. Nurses at the new Seattle dialysis clinic, opened in 1962, shouldered important roles in delivering the therapy and writing protocols that would be adopted throughout the profession. Funding ran short, and care was rationed in a system that drew a national spotlight and sparked formal study of bioethics.

Blagg knew all the pioneers and worked alongside them. He was an important advocate when Congress established Medicare and its entitlement for all kidney failure patients to receive dialysis at government expense. He vigorously promoted home dialysis to give patients more autonomy, longer treatments and better quality of life.

"This history illuminates the hard times in the early yearsdisbelief in dialysis as a viable therapy, lack of funding and availability of care, the challenge of securing adequate insurance paymentsall of which continue in some form today," says Joyce F. Jackson, president and CEO of Northwest Kidney Centers. "Dr. Blagg's contributions to the renal field are immense and broad. He is a supreme historian in our field and his contributions live on through this book."

From Miracle to Mainstream is now available on Amazon, and a short video about the book can be viewed at youtube.com/nwkidney.

In 2017, Northwest Kidney Centerscelebrates 55 years as a regional, not-for-profit provider of kidney dialysis, 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 the 8th largest dialysis provider in the United States, it is known for its high quality services, deep community connections and generous donor support. For more information, visitwww.nwkidney.org.

Cynthia Flash