At Desert Kidney Care, a bilingual staff can help all patients through a delicate process.
Dr. Rodolfo Batarse is the kind of person who wants to work where he’s needed most and can do the most good. That’s why he’s in the Coachella Valley.
“I noticed there weren’t any transplant-certified nephrologists in the whole valley,” says Batarse, who spent the first part of his career at the University of California San Diego Medical Center, as faculty and an active member of its transplant team, before relocating to Rancho Mirage to open his Desert Kidney Care practice nine years ago. “I thought, ‘There’s a lot of good that can be done here. There are a lot of people that I can help,’ ” Batarse says. In addition to his transplantation expertise, Batarse, a native Spanish speaker who grew up in El Salvador, knew that he could also be a resource for Spanish-speaking residents.
As the only transplant-certified physician for the kidneys and pancreas in the valley, Batarse sees himself as both an advocate and a guide for his patients. He ensures transplant recipients are up to date with required care should an organ become available and conducts an assessment of the potential donated organ; he preps patients for the procedures, which often occur at transplant centers in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Loma Linda, where Batarse has ongoing relationships; and he participates in the years of aftercare that follow.
“It’s not a drive-through procedure. Because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s not complicated, not intricate, nor that it’s not a high-risk procedure,” he insists. “A lot of [the preparation] is education before referral to the center so [patients] are fully aware of the risks. Their accessibility to a transplant specialist does affect their outcome.”
One of the most exciting advancements in the field, according to Batarse, is home dialysis, which can be life changing for those with kidney disease. New technology has made the at-home treatments more affordable and simpler to perform. “They can still have full-time jobs, be parents, or be active in school,” he says, noting that home dialysis provides patients with the flexibility to take care of their own bodies as an alternative to surgery.
Batarse is also passionate about academic research and sharing his knowledge at conferences around the world. “But I could only do all of this with good staff,” he says of his seven employees. “Every person in my office has the drive, the discipline, the knowledge, the compassion for these very sick patients. We’re the little clinic that could.”
“Because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s not complicated, not intricate, nor that it’s not a high-risk procedure.”Dr. Rodolfo Batarse, Desert Kidney Care