Homemade dialysis machine keeps man alive for 13 years

Consumers who think items made in China are inferior and useless may think twice after reading this —but are cautioned not to try this at home.

A Chinese man suffering from kidney disease, Hu Songwen, has kept himself alive for 13 years using a homemade dialysis machine, UK's Daily Mail reported.

"The cost for each home treatment is only 60 yuan (£6 or P391), which is 12 percent of the hospital charge for dialysis," it quoted Hu as saying.

Hu, a resident of a rural area in East China, built the contraption after he could no longer afford high hospital bills.

The machine, used thrice a week, is made of kitchen utensils and old medical instruments.

Also, Hu used disused medical equipment, such as a blood pump and plastic tubing.

The Daily Mail report said Hu was diagnosed with kidney disease in 1993, while he was a college student.

While he initially underwent dialysis in hospitals, his savings ran out after six years - leaving him no choice but to make his own machine.

Not even the death of two friends who tried to build and use similar homemade machines fazed him.

'External kidney'

The Daily Mail report said Hu's machine works like an external kidney, with blood pumped through one half of the machine, and the dialysis fluid pumped through the other half.

Hu's dialysis fluid is a mix of potassium chloride, sodium chloride and sodium hydrogen carbonate (bicarbonate), and purified water.

"For the treatment, he inserts two tubes into his arm, which are connected to his dialysis machine. The blood is pumped out of his arm through one of the tubes, is filtered and then returned to his body via the other tube," the report said.

When the blood and dialysis fluid go through the machine, excess minerals go from his blood and through the membrane to the fluid.

This removes the waste products from his blood and the fluid is later thrown away. The "clean" blood is then pumped back into his body.

On the other hand, Hu said the nearest public hospital to his home is not only too far away, but also too crowded.

Doctors' warning

On the other hand, doctors warned Hu may risk serious infection and long-term complications by not using sterile water to make the fluid.

But Hu, who lives with his 81-year-old mother in Qutang township of Jiangsu Province, says he has limited options.

The Chinese government also offered medical aid to Hu when his story sparked national interest following media reports.

But Hu said he was reluctant to switch as the nearest hospital is far away and very crowded. — TJD, GMA News

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