Next-Level Patient Care: Dr. Latoya Brathwaite and DCI Western Hills Celebrate Transplant Successes
Posted in Articles by Dialysis Clinic, Inc.
“I do what most nephrologists do,” said Dr. Latoya Brathwaite, a University of Cincinnati Nephrologist, who cares for patients three days a week at DCI Western Hills in Cincinnati, Ohio. However, those working alongside Dr. Brathwaite believe her tenacity and dedication were integral in assisting six DCI patients through their kidney transplant process in 2022.
“I’ve never seen so many patients get transplanted in one unit,” said Western Hills Dietitian Jane Snyder Patrick, RD LD, who has nearly 30 years’ experience and 14 years focusing on renal nutrition, and who joined DCI in late 2020 around the same time as Dr. Brathwaite. “She’s transplanted 10 percent of our population. She’s a tenacious, persistent patient advocate.”
Just as DCI creates a holistic treatment plan to meet patients where they are, Dr. Brathwaite is similarly known for spending quality time with her patients during rounds getting to know them and developing strong bonds. Her relationships and the gained trust help shape the best medical outcomes for her patients.
“Dr. Brathwaite is very thorough when she’s reviewing patient information and is very responsive when answering questions,” said Laurie Streng, Western Hills’ Charge Nurse.
“To motivate people, you meet them where they are, identify barriers and what’s going on in their head," Dr. Brathwaite said. “If you don’t have that (trust), you won’t gain the information to help patients get where they need to be.”
“Dr. Brathwaite has such compassion and cares so much about her patients’ well-being,” said Western Hills Patient Care Technician Lois Kolligian. “She is very friendly and the patients know they can come to her with any concern.”
“Overall, I want the best for my patients,” she said. “Transplantation improves quality of life, their mortality; (they) regain the life they lived before dialysis. I will always be a transplant supporter.”
Carol Richardson received her kidney transplant in 2022. “Working with Dr. Brathwaite made the difference,” Richardson said. “She explained everything from the beginning to the end. She made sure I understood.”
While there are many similarities, the transplant process varies for individuals who have a medical workup done to be eligible and placed on the waiting list. “Every patient is different because they need different things,” Dr. Brathwaite said. “They get bogged down with the process and the workup.”
Dr. Brathwaite and the patient care team help to address the hurdles. Dr. Brathwaite knows her patients’ history, directly advocates on their behalf with other medical providers to address comorbidities, and makes appointments to advance individuals through the transplant process and prioritize their spot on the waiting list. She successfully lobbied to have a patient added to another hospital’s transplant list three hours away after that patient was denied locally. She brings in the clinic team to address nutrition or social challenges patients may encounter.
She also holds her patients accountable. “She encourages patients to strive to be compliant with their treatments and work toward the goal of transplant,” said Western Hills Patient Care Technician Tony Schill.
“She’s such a great doctor to work with, always has time to work with patients and staff, and involves the team, asking for our opinions and what we’re seeing,” Jane Snyder Patrick said.
“Our key to success is when the team is behind you,” she said. “If I identify an issue, the team as a whole makes sure it happens.”
The clinic’s support helped kidney recipient Derrick Shafer throughout the various appointments and transplant waiting list requirements after being on dialysis for nearly 17 years. “DCI Western Hills’ team listened to my questions and concerns and was very supportive during the process,” he said.
“It’s a team effort, the whole DCI Western Hills really gets them there together,” Dr. Brathwaite said. “They feel that we care and we want the best for them, that their quality of life will improve.”
“Western Hills is such a unique clinic,” said Area Operations Director Deborah Geiger who is also covering as the clinic’s Nurse Manager. “They work together and support each other. This team is loyal, that’s for sure.”
Along with Dr. Brathwaite and the DCI Western Hills team, another positive influence encouraging dialysis patients to consider transplantation for themselves is their fellow patients who have been through the process and have a new kidney.
“When people see it’s possible, they are more motivated to try for themselves,” Dr. Brathwaite said. “Transplant champions … stay in touch with those on dialysis and it helps motivate the rest there to request a referral.”
While she believes she does what other nephrologists do, Dr. Brathwaite and the DCI Western Hills care team are going above and beyond to enable and ensure their patients live life to the fullest.