Nationwide IV bag shortage caused by Hurricane Maria

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2018

Hospitals across the United States are facing a risky shortage of IV fluid bags.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said last week it believes shortages will start to ease over the next few weeks, but stressed "the production situation in Puerto Rico remains fragile".

In addition to meeting with state troopers, the group plans to visit a children's hospital in San Juan, a health center in Loiza and a shelter in Canovanas.

Nationwide IV bag shortage caused by Hurricane Maria

Mercy Health System with three hospitals in Mahoning and Trumbull Counties is also taking precautions. Other are having them trickle in. And Baxter International was given the OK to temporarily import sterile fluids from 6 overseas factories.

Kyle Startsman, a pharmacist at the hospital, said that by being on top of the issue, they have been able to keep their supply lasting.

Baxter says it's been shipping those to US hospitals since October, but hospital officials say that hasn't been enough.

Shortages are also hitting surgery centers, cancer clinics that infuse chemotherapy, dialysis centers and companies that provide regular infusions to home-bound patients.

"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.

Those methods can cut down on valuable time to check in on other patients.

"Due to the strength and breadth of our network pharmacy, materials management and dedicated staff, we have been able to work through any challenges", Rynn said.

"It's just never been this bad before".

Hospitals have been substituting pills for IV-administered drugs when possible, changing dosing schedules or injecting drugs directly into a vein, using what's called I.V. push.

"What we need to make sure the patients and the public know is that this is impacting everybody across the country", said Cunningham.

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