Just over a month after being licensed by the California Department of Public Health to provide in-patient dialysis for patients with kidney-related complications, Lompoc Valley Medical Center (LVMC) treated its first patient.

Ronald Linton, a Lompoc resident, came to the hospital this week for treatment of health problems unrelated to his chronic kidney disease, but he needed dialysis.

“I was really happy to see this service. I consider it very valuable,” he said.

“Life-saving,” added his wife of 41 years, Ginny.

When Linton learned he was the first dialysis patient at the hospital, he sent his wife a text message with a celebratory icon stating, “YAY!”

He said he was “honored” to be LVMC’s first dialysis patient. “I was really happy to see this service. I consider it very valuable,” Linton said.

Kidney dialysis is the process of removing excess water, solutes and toxins from the blood in people whose kidneys can no longer perform the functions naturally. It may also be called renal replacement therapy.

Linton said he was excited because it had been inconvenient to go out of town to another hospital if he needed surgery or medical treatment while also undergoing dialysis.

“It’s a good thing the community has this additional resource,” added Linton, a retired Environmental Compliance Program coordinator.

Twenty-five years ago, Linton lost one kidney to kidney cancer. He did not need dialysis until about five years ago and now gets treatment three times each week.

With the need for such routine dialysis, Linton said he was “very, very happy to see this” service at LVMC because many other people in the community are also receiving dialysis.

“There’s one bed and one machine (at the hospital) now. I’m hoping with time we’ll see two or three chairs,” he said.

The dialysis program is coordinated by a committee that includes Dr. Bindu Kamal, Dr. Andrew Ross, and Raymond Go, R.N. and lead dialysis coordinator. Other team members and dialysis registered nurses are Teresa Go, Irene Russo, Melinda Capella, Sharon Syed and John Sullivan. Melinda DeHoyos is director of the Medical-Surgical Department where the unit is based.