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Dialysis Nurse Helping Patients, One Sweatshirt at a Time

May 6th, 2019

Dominique Alvarez, a RN in the hemodialysis department at Mercy Medical Center, is tailor-made for the job. She’s compassionate, caring, and excellent— the whole nine yards! And, for the last few months, Dominique has been going above and beyond for her patients. She has been purchasing and customizing sweatshirts for those suffering from kidney failure on her own free time and with her own funds.

Dominque, who has spent the last 13 years in the dialysis unit, said she started making sweatshirts for the patients because she wanted them to feel comfortable while under her care. She buys the sweatshirts from area department stores in the sizes of her current patients. Then, she cuts an opening on the sweatshirt that aligns with the location of the patients’ dialysis port. From there, she hand sews a zipper so that patients can stay warm during treatment, just exposing the catheter, graft or fistula in the area where dialysis is performed.

Patients who receive dialysis are often cold because their bodies are not producing as much heat due to fewer red blood cells (which carry oxygen through the body.) On an average, dialysis patients at Mercy will receive treatment for 3x per week, with each session lasting four hours.

Dominique, a Freeport resident and nurse at Mercy for 29 years, said each sweatshirt takes about 2 hours to make but she finds it “peaceful and therapeutic.”

Sweatshirts like the ones made by Dominique are valued at around $45. However, one patient, Marion Goldstein, said, “What Dominique gave me was worth a million dollars. I will never forget her.”

Dominique is zipping along and has already made about 10 sweatshirts since the beginning of the year. She hopes to continue to make these one-of-a-kind pieces for her patients in the future.

Photo caption: Dominque pictured with Marion Goldstein as she wears the sweatshirt she received.