Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Local hospitals experiencing shortage of IV fluids, but not because of flu

Local hospitals experiencing shortage of IV fluids, but not because of flu

"The medications that are delivered within a hospital setting are given through an intravenous route using IV fluids to provide that medication, so it is very important that we continue to evaluate what we have", Hoffman said.

Hospital officials, pharmacists and other staff have been devising alternatives and workarounds, training doctors and nurses on new procedures and options, and hitting the phones to try to secure fluids from secondary suppliers.

"Many were significantly impacted because of the power outages that occurred across the island", said Director of Clinical Pharmacy Services at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Jason Hoffman.

Saline solutions are frequently used to treat patients: most commonly to help administer drugs.

Startsman said even though they've seen an influx of patients due to flu season and other viruses going around, they have not run out of the saline solution just yet. "I see it as a crisis", says Pasko.

Local hospitals experiencing shortage of IV fluids, but not because of flu
Local hospitals experiencing shortage of IV fluids, but not because of flu

According to health professionals, the nation is seeing a shortage in IV's because of Hurricane Maria's effects on drug manufacturing companies in Puerto Rico.

"We're a part of a large health system and it makes it so we can shift supplies to the places that really truly need it, or are getting to a bare minimum on supplies, so we've been able to work with our facilities here in West Texas to ensure that everybody keeps an ample supply to take care of the patients".

Deliveries of those have been most unpredictable, said David Chen, a pharmacy director with Promedica, which operates 13 hospitals in OH and MI. It also gave Baxter permission to temporarily import sterile fluids from six overseas factories.

Nutrient solution bags, also running low, are needed for far fewer patients than saline, but there are few substitutes, said Connie Sullivan, head of research and innovation at the National Home Infusion Association. "That has a huge impact on our nursing care", said Calvert.

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