This Glomerulonephritis Patient has Been Receiving Dialysis Treatment for Over 30 Years. Now he Shares his Discipline with Other Patients


According to a recent article in the MalayMail, it occurred to Abdullah’s doctor that the 67-year-old would be an inspiration for others who have kidney failure. His nephrologist, Dr. Eason Chang, turned to Facebook and posted a very well-received chronology of Abdullah’s thirty-plus years travelling to hospitals for treatment.

Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT)

The options for treatment of kidney failure are dialysis or a kidney transplant. There is a third option which some people choose called conservative management that does not involve dialysis or transplantation. The patient’s care is in the hands of their health care team focusing on quality of life and controlling symptoms.

Of the more than forty thousand Malaysians receiving regular dialysis, about ninety per cent require haemodialysis three times each week.

According to the Malaysian Ministry of Health, over one hundred thousand Malaysians may be subject to kidney failure in the next twenty years.

Abdullah’s Story As Told by Dr. Chang

Abdullah, or Pak Lah as he is known among family and friends, has been receiving dialysis at the Hallim Hospital longer than any other patient. His pile of medical records at Hallim is also larger than those of any other patient.

Dr. Chang, who has been his nephrologist for over ten years, notes that Pak Lah is now entering his fourth decade of treatment. Dr. Chang attributes Pak’s “good health” to his dedication and adherence to his schedule through self-discipline.

Pak Lah was diagnosed with glomerulonephritis, which is inflammation of small filters (glomeruli) in the kidneys. That was in 1990 when he was thirty-seven.

His first treatment was a type of dialysis called peritoneal dialysis. This was followed by haemodialysis. Pak Lah is still receiving this form of dialysis.

Pak Lah has since retired after thirty-five years as a technician at the local public works. Now he has more time to spend with his six children, eight grandchildren, and his gardening.

About Arteriovenous Fistula

In a brief interview with the MalayMail, Pak Lah explained that it took time for him to adjust to dialysis. An artificial connection must be created and surgically inserted into the patient’s arm in order for the patient to receive haemodialysis treatment.

The connection is called the arteriovenous fistula.

Pak conceded that he may have been partially at fault for not being careful with the tubing and as a result the mechanism failed. In his own words, his lifeline to dialysis caused him many problems. His well-learned lesson has been carried forward.

Three Thousand Likes and One Thousand Facebook Shares

Dr. Chang thought about the ten years he has been treating Pak Lah. He thought about Pak’s controlled discipline and the way he managed his treatment.

According to Dr. Chang, these qualities were worth sharing on social media in an effort to motivate other patients. It was apparently effective, judging the likes and shares posted on the site.

Pak Lah was just as appreciative and expressed his gratitude as he told MaylaMail that he could not have had the same quality of life without the excellent support of his family, Dr. Chang, and his medical staff.

Many people commented that Pak Lah is a true role model.

Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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