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Care for kidney issues still close to home


A partnership between Bothwell Regional Health Center and Dr. Blake Brooks with Nephrology and Hypertension Associates in Columbia means Sedalia-area residents will continue to receive care locally for their kidney ailments.

As a nephrology specialist, Brooks treats patients with kidney issues from mild abnormalities to dialysis, which is the process of removing excess water and toxins from the blood, to kidney transplants. Kidney disease is often connected to high blood pressure, fluid retention and electrolyte and mineral imbalances, which he also treats. 

Brooks is not unfamiliar with Sedalia or with Bothwell’s nephrology specialist, Dr. David Wuellner, who recently retired from clinical practice at Bothwell Internal Medicine Specialists. 

“I actually started coming to Sedalia about 10 to 15 years ago,” Brooks said. “First, I had a satellite clinic in Dr. Steve Foster’s office and then I was at the Sedalia Dialysis Clinic, where I served as the medical director. Dr. Wuellner and I helped start the home dialysis program at the clinic and my involvement here started because of him.”

Brooks said that in caring for patients in Columbia he would invariably run across people from Sedalia who were on dialysis. He sees patients at Bothwell Internal Medicine Specialists at 1712 S. Lafayette about four to six times a month. 

“Being in Sedalia more regularly now allows me to maintain relationships with those patients,” he said. “I like traveling and getting to different communities to serve people. I work in three or four other towns. I love coming to Sedalia. It’s a comfortable place to work, and patients are nice.”

Brooks said his philosophy of care is rooted in being open to what patients have to say and encouraging them to be a part of their treatment.

“I really try to listen to what my patients say more than anything else,” he said. “I’m also not really about making black and white decisions on types of medicine to control my patients’ health issues. I believe in giving them information and letting them have the autonomy to make informed decisions about the best plan of care.”

Brooks received his medical degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine and did three years of residency at University of Missouri Health Care. He then completed an additional two years of training in nephrology and internal medicine fellowships, also at MU Health. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in nephrology. Brooks was born and raised in Columbia and enjoys being outdoors and following Mizzou sports, as well as the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs.  

Brooks travels to Sedalia and other communities with Debi Martin, a licensed practical nurse, who is an integral part of the medical team. 

“Debi started working with me about a year ago and has been a ‘godsend,’” he said. “She’s great with patients and super nice. She gives every patient her cell phone number and just keeps all of us on track.” 

While Wuellner has retired from caring for patients in the clinic, he continues to see patients at Bothwell hospital and at the Dialysis Clinic. Brooks said a lot of his interest in nephrology came from him.

“I think the world of him. He has left a great legacy of care and left big shoes to fill, figuratively and literally,” he said with a laugh. “I hope to partially fill the void left from his retirement from clinic practice in whatever capacity I can. I’m looking forward to this next chapter here and continuing to develop relationships with patients and referring physicians, as well as expanding nephrology services in the clinic and at the hospital.” 


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