Thursday, 21 March 2024 14:17

The American Dream: New Dialysis Unit Named for Local Doctor

Dr. Rachid Daoui poses with Frank and Colleen Messa outside Saratoga Hospital’s new dialysis unit named in his honor. Photo provided by Darlene Olivieri Alvarado. Dr. Rachid Daoui poses with Frank and Colleen Messa outside Saratoga Hospital’s new dialysis unit named in his honor. Photo provided by Darlene Olivieri Alvarado.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Hospital’s new dialysis unit has opened just in time for National Kidney Month. The unit was dedicated in February in honor of Dr. Rachid Daoui, a nephrologist whose journey to Saratoga began in Algeria.

“When I came to [the United States], I had very limited resources,” Dr. Daoui said. “I had to start all over. I was not sure if I would be able to be a doctor here.”

After emigrating, Dr. Daoui learned the English language, completed his residency in internal medicine at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, and then began specializing in kidney disease. He had a number of job offers, but was especially impressed with the people he met in Saratoga. “I felt that from day one, they were just like my family,” Dr. Daoui said.

Dr. Daoui began working at the Saratoga Hospital in 2003. By 2012, he had become chief of the hospital’s nephrology division. When Frank and Colleen Messa made a large contribution towards the construction of a new dialysis unit, they requested it be named in honor of Dr. Daoui.

The unit, which officially opened last month, allows two nurses to give five patients dialysis treatments. During the peak COVID years, nurses were working from 8 a.m. until past midnight, struggling to keep up with high demands and limited resources. But the Dr. Rachid Daoui Dialysis Unit has changed all that. Dr. Daoui said that patients and nurses “love” the new unit. “They say that it feels quite spacious and welcoming, and they feel that they’re getting treated with dignity and respect in their own private space.”

Of course, it’s best to avoid kidney disease in the first place. Dr. Daoui said some of the most effective ways to keep kidneys healthy include checking blood pressure, maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, quitting smoking, drinking plenty of fluids, limiting alcohol intake, and medicating diabetes (if necessary). “The best practice is to have a healthy life,” Dr. Daoui said.

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