At Dialyspa, we pride ourselves on our patient-centric philosophy and the difference it makes in our approach to total wellness and comfort care. The Dialyspa Difference is the result of one man’s vision and determination. We’re pleased to share with you the story of one of our co-founders, Neill Simon.
Neill had a million stories to share—from his adventures with the Corpus Christi homicide division, to sharing the stage with Diana Ross and The Temptations, to helping the San Antonio FBI nab one of its 10 Most Wanted—but the message he was most passionate about was this: You can do anything you put your mind to, as long as you believe you can. Nowhere is this more evident than in Neill’s own story of life with dialysis.
Neill was diagnosed with ESRD in 2001 and began hemodialysis in December, 2002. Like many dialysis patients, he found it difficult to adjust to his new lifestyle at first. In addition to all the sudden changes, Neil was never truly satisfied with his options for dialysis treatment. The staff was rarely attentive, and the accommodations did nothing to help improve a life-changing ordeal.
But thanks to a lifelong never-give-up attitude, he resolved to follow his doctors’ orders. When his diabetes became life-threatening, Neill renewed his commitment to healthy eating and exercise and was able to lose weight.
During Hurricane Ike, Neill and his family were forced to relocate to San Antonio to maintain his dialysis treatments. Concerned for the well-being of other dialysis patients who lacked the means for such emergency travel, he returned to Houston determined to create a disaster-ready dialysis facility that could accommodate patients around the clock during emergencies.
Neill approached longtime friend Dr. Jeffrey Kalina, who agreed that Houston was in desperate need of a facility that could remain open seven days a week, 24 hours a day during emergencies.
In his role as Chairman of the Disaster Response Team in the Texas Medical Center during Hurricane Katrina and as a Coordinator of Emergency Dialysis Services with the Texas State End Stage Renal Network during Hurricane Ike, Dr. Kalina became convinced that all dialysis clinics should have a backup generator to protect against power loss during disasters and emergencies.
He began championing legislation to mandate all dialysis clinics in Texas have a backup power source. Together, Dr. Kalina and Neill began creating a dialysis center designed from a patient’s perspective with a doctor’s medical insight.
However, disaster-preparedness wasn’t the only difference Neill had in mind. Having had many unpleasant experiences dialyzing in high-volume clinics with impersonal and even indifferent treatment by overloaded staff, Neil knew how important it was to put the patient experience first. It was important to him that his patients be treated with respect and compassion, and not as inconveniences.
And so, with the founding of Dialyspa, Neill and Dr. Kalina set out to create the antithesis of the unwelcoming atmospheres he had known. As a result, Dialyspa is a warm, inviting facility that feels more like a VIP member lounge than a clinic.
Neill personally saw to it that Dialyspa would offer every patient all the comforts he himself would like to experience during dialysis—from heated chairs to touchscreen internet access, even down to his favorite ice chips.
Neill’s goal was to make sure all Dialyspa patients know that they are genuinely cared for and supported. He believed in his own ability to make a difference in the lives of other dialysis patients, and he was determined to show them just how much they can accomplish when they believe in themselves, too.
With a deep commitment to Neill’s Deal, the Dialyspa family carries on his legacy by enhancing the dialysis experience for every dialysis patient.