Outsetter Dan Holt Honors His Mom by Working to Change Healthcare
Dan tells the story of his mom’s brave battle with cancer and dialysis, its impact on him in choosing to work at Outset, and how the experience enters into every aspect of his work.
Dan Holt came to Outset after more than 15 years of both selling and leading sales teams in the surgical device space. But it was his mother Linda’s five-year battle with cancer, including hemodialysis in the hospital for kidney failure before her passing, that changed his outlook on healthcare and ultimately the trajectory of his career.
In 2014, Dan’s mom began a difficult journey with breast cancer. Following a diagnosis and a mastectomy, she was clear of cancer for two years. But it reappeared in her lung, and she underwent a rigorous treatment regimen. Then, metastases appeared in her brain. She underwent extensive surgery, but the disease was so aggressive that it kept coming back in the same location.
One day, Dan was at a work meeting in Seattle, and he got a call from his family saying that his mom was having a seizure and she was being taken to the hospital. He flew to New Jersey, where she was intubated in her hospital bed. “But being that she was a gritty, tough woman from Brooklyn, she came through all of that, and seemed to be making progress,” says Dan.
He explains that she then went into an LTAC facility, and suddenly went into kidney failure. “That’s where her dialysis journey started, and she was admitted back into the hospital. It was already tough enough seeing my mom fight her cancer, and now this.”
Dan, his wife, sister, uncle and other family members would spend every day with her at the hospital, and negative memories of the experience linger with him today. “I basically left home to live in New Jersey where she was. I quietly sacrificed a lot to be with her. We were there daily for months,” he says.
Dialysis was tough on Dan’s mom, and his family. “The hardest experience was when several days a week she was getting wheeled from her room to sit in a dialysis room with many other patients,” explains Dan. “It was this dark, dungeon-like room. Patients were hooked up to what I now know are portable ROs and HD machines. No one was happy, there was no privacy, and you just sat there watching your loved one’s blood cycling through the machine for about four hours. I had no idea at the time what dialysis really was, so it was just a miserable experience. Could we have stayed bedside in private, the experience would have been immensely better for our family.”
Dan’s mother unfortunately passed away in late 2019, after a brave five-year battle and setting a survival record at the hospice and LTAC facility where she spent her final days.
After her passing, Dan started looking for a position outside of orthopedics. Impacted by his mom’s experience he was initially looking in the oncology space, but in his search he didn’t find a company that was doing anything he felt was innovative or different.
One day on LinkedIn, he got connected to Outset Medical through Josh Christensen—now his market director. Josh had also come from the orthopedics world.
“He told me how excited he was about the company, and how awesome the vision and the people are,” says Dan. “The more I started talking to others on the team, including Dennis Elmer, and hearing what they were doing, learning about Outset and Tablo – but more so the impact on patients – it just struck a chord with me. I saw what my mom had gone through, and her experience with dialysis made me see how much it needed to change. By interview number three, I was sold that this was something that I wanted to be a part of.”
Today, more than a year and a half later, Dan is grateful to be part of a team focused on changing healthcare for the better. “I’ve had a lot of success here, and I think it’s because of the story of what we’re trying to do. It resonates so much on a daily basis. And I do it every day with my mom in mind,” he says.
He often references his family’s experience when meeting with potential customers. “One thing I always ask at the start of any presentation is, ‘who in this room knows someone that’s had to go through dialysis?’ I think it’s impactful to be able to sympathize and be empathetic to those that have gone through it and are going through it.”
Sign up for our monthly “From the Outset” e-newsletter to read stories about our growing Tablo community, and be the first to know about events and product updates.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Tablo Hemodialysis System Disclaimer: Results may vary. Keep in mind that all treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results, and other important medical information. It is important that you discuss the potential risks, complications, and benefits of this product with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your physician’s judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment.