March 23, 2018

Area hospitals prepare to deal with IV fluid shortage

13 January 2018, 02:59 | Taylor George

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"We want to assist the people of Puerto Rico and we are honored to be part of this restoration effort", said Kent Larson, executive vice president and group president of operations.

The shortage is a nationwide issue and concern of hospitals, especially since it is flu season. "We continue to work with our suppliers and manufacturers to meet our patient's needs". Members of the New York Mets baseball organization, whose spring training facilities are housed in Port St. Lucie, chose to coordinate the caring energy of their Northeast fans by hosting a hurricane relief collection drive at one of their fall season ball games to help with the fix and rebuilding of lives affected by Hurricane Irma.

"It's slightly earlier than what we normally see, but in the past few years we've had late seasons".

Unfortunately, not only is the flu going around but it's one of the worst seasons in recent years.

"It's resource intensive but I think it's a shortage that can be managed without impacting patients", said Patel.

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"Within the Mercy Health-Youngstown region, weekly inventory reviews of on-hand solutions and pain medications are assessed and where possible, physicians have been able to substitute oral therapy and solutions to conserve IV bag use", said Barry Shick, chief pharmacy officer for Mercy Health in a statement.

With the hurricane damage in Puerto Rico still being cleaned up, hospitals throughout the United States are finding that they are short on IV materials.

Baxter makes what are called mini-bags of saline in Puerto Rico - smaller 50 ml and 100 ml bags used to dilute and administer cancer chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics and other treatments.

Some hospital officials say the severity of shortages stabilized over the holidays, when elective surgeries and other services drop, but others say shortages are worsening. "Nationally, everybody was doing the same thing, so as soon as we switched it from one product to the next, that quickly became a shortage in its own right", Britton added.

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