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Land Rights News Central Australia: Land Rights News (October 2011)

Published: November, 2011

DIY dialysis allows sufferers to go home

Dialysis patient and renowned artist Patrick Tjungurrayi is a happy man now that he has learnt how to treat himself at home in Kiwirrkurra with peritoneal dialysis (PD).

Mr Tjungurrayi was the focus of a great deal of media attention in 2009.

At the time he had been refused dialysis treatment in Alice Springs because he lives in Kiwirrkurra in Western Australia, but the Northern Territory Government had decided it was no longer going to treat interstate patients.

Sarah Brown from Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku (Western Desert Dialysis Mob) said Tjungurrayi was overjoyed that his new ability made it possible for him to live at home.

“Patrick has been in Kintore for about seven months with the nurse there learning how to do this,” she said.

“Now he has been back in Kiwirrkurra flying solo for about two months.

“He has a little machine and a tube in his tummy and he dialyses himself at night and paints during the day.

“The hospital sends out boxes of fluid to use and the entire community support him to keep his house clean and clear the rubbish away.

“There’s huge support for him.

“Patrick fought hard for the right to come to Alice for treatment and to return home to his country.

“He and his family tell us how happy they are to be back where they belong.

“WDNWPT is proud to have helped him to learn to do his own PD,” Ms Brown said.

“We thank Papunya Tula for their financial support to make this happen.”

Ms Brown said Patrick was one of the lucky ones when the nt Government bought in its new policy of not treating interstate patients.

“He was granted a reprieve by NT Health Minister Kon Vatskalis and allowed to be treated in Alice Springs for a while, but all the others who lived in places like Ernabella and Warburton were sent away from family to Perth and Adelaide for treatment,” she said.

“Many are choosing to die on country rather than move so far from home.”