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article imageIV bag shortage affects hospitals treating flu

By Tim Sandle     Jan 10, 2018 in Health
More serious cases of influenza require patients to be administered intravenous drips. In the U.S. there’s currently a shortage of IV bags, which is hampering efforts to deal with ill patients during the winter months.
The shortage in some hospitals in the U.S. has led to medical centers resorting to requesting supplies from everywhere possible in order to deliver medicine and treat dehydrated patients.
One reason for the shortage is due to the impact of storms on a number of processing plants in Puerto Rico. The storms were associated with Hurricane Maria last October and November; the impact of which has led many companies struggling to recover. The hurricane knocked out Puerto Rico’s power grid, which affected leading medical products manufacturers like Baxter International.
The Puerto Rico has led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to describe the situation as “fragile”, although the health agency expects production and release to pick up and thus for stock levels to rise soon.
Before the storms put a halt to many production sites supplies of saline and nutrient solutions were low due to increased demand; the post-storm situation has made matter far worse. The intravenous bags are also used to deliver sterile medicines to patients.
The situation has been compounded by the U.S. flu season coming earlier than with previous seasons, increasing the demand on medical centers for services.
In response to the shortage in intravenous bags, hospital managers and pharmacists have bene discussing alternatives or alternative ways to work around the problem. This has included healthcare staff in new procedures. In addition, hospital procurement departments are spending considerable time chasing down supplies.
One pharmacist, Deborah Pasko who is the director of medication safety and quality at the American Society of Health System Pharmacists, told the website PharamPro: “If we can't support patients coming in emergency rooms who have the flu, more people are going to die…I see it as a crisis."
The power grid is being slowly restored and may companies in the region are resuming production.
For more flu season related news, Digital Journal recently spoke with Dr. Richard Webby, who is responsible for determining which flu vaccines will be put into circulation, about the development of the vaccine and flu epidemiology pasterns.
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