“In the past few months I’ve seen bugs in my clinic.”

I’ve been on dialysis for ten years, and I’ve seen several people die in that time. But I’ll never forget the first patient I saw die — he sat next to me during my first year of treatment.

One day I saw his eyes roll back in his head. I could hear his wife screaming while a tech and a nurse tried to resuscitate him. The patient sitting next to me grabbed my hand, we began to pray together. I was terrified — not just for him, but for myself too.

When I started dialysis, I didn’t expect I’d have to worry about the clinic that’s supposed to keep me healthy.

I’ve seen bugs crawling in between the plastic that covers the light fixtures in the ceiling. I’ve had to call the health department many times to report roaches, blood stains, and lack of adequate cleaning.

Dialysis equipment at my clinic malfunctions a lot. I’ve seen workers switch out a machine in the middle of another patient’s treatment because it is malfunctioning. I’ve talked to the clinic administrators to resolve these dangerous situations, but management changes so often that my concerns are always left unaddressed.

I always think back to the day I saw that patient die — I know it could’ve been me at that moment. After that experience I knew I had to become a fierce advocate for myself and other patients to make sure we all are getting the care we need to stay alive.

Tangi Foster passed away on October 22, 2018.

Tangi was a force of nature and an inspiration to dialysis patients and healthcare workers across California. As a patient, she saw firsthand the poor conditions that plague too many dialysis clinics in California.

She made it her mission to fight for better care for all dialysis patients. She collected signatures to put Prop 8 on the ballot and made hours and hours of phone calls to voters to ensure that it passes. We honor her passion, her commitment, and her resolve to protect the most vulnerable. We will miss her greatly.

Rest in power, Tangi.

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