UI Medical Milestone: Patient marks 25 years on dialysis - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI Medical Milestone: Patient marks 25 years on dialysis

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IOWA CITY (KWWL)-- A patient at the University of Iowa Hospital is celebrating a medical milestone.  For 25 years, he's been undergoing renal dialysis, a mark that most patients don't live to see. And doctors credit his positive outlook for allowing him to keep going strong.      

More than two decades ago, the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City looked a bit different than it does now.  And one patient remembers all of it well.  He's been a renal dialysis patient at the hospital for 25 years.

"Oh I always say I get to do it.  I get to be on dialysis.  You've got to have that attitude and do what you're supposed to do," said Denny Burgess, dialysis patient.

It's a positive outlook Burgess has developed after dealing with kidney issues his entire life.  A birth defect advanced into continual kidney infections, leading to the need for him to begin dialysis at age 28.  He'd take treatments for four hours, three times a week.

"You don't take so much for granted knowing that you're on basically life support," Burgess said.

In fact, dialysis treatment has literally kept him alive.  After a failed transplant in 1993, Burgess has lived with no kidneys.  Five years ago, he joined a U of I study for dialysis that could be done at night.  And it's allowed him to thrive.

"It's quite unusual for people to do as well as he did, but it's mostly because he's taken very good care of himself," said Dr. Douglas Somers, UI Dialysis Medical Director.

Burgess was glad to reunite with many of the doctors and nurses who've provided that treatment to him over the years during a celebration of his 25th dialysis anniversary.

"You can't thank people enough.  What can I say?  It's life-saving," Burgess said.

Currently, Burgess comes to the U of I Hospital for check-ups once a month.  And he hopes to be coming in for at least another 25 years.

Burgess says he's looking forward to seeing future advancements for treating kidney failure patients.  Doctors hope the next major development will be the successful transplant of artificial kidneys in humans.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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