Hospitals deal with IV bag shortage and spike in flu cases

Hospitals deal with IV bag shortage and spike in flu cases

Hospitals deal with IV bag shortage and spike in flu cases

"In the hospital sometimes the default is to give intravenous fluids just because it is something we are used to doing", Biddinger said.

The shortage means life threatening conditions for some patients.

During an already hard flu season for hospitals, this makes a bad situation that much worse.

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A saline-solution shortage worsened by Hurricane Maria has hospitals anxious, even as staff turn to creative solutions such as breaking out the Gatorade.

More than 1,600 Puerto Rican families displaced after Hurricane Maria are living in CT.

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Now many hospitals are only getting half or two-thirds of what they order and have only a few days' worth of saline on their shelves. As Puerto Rico's power grid is restored, Baxter International factories, which make the nutrient solutions and saline bags, was reconnected before Christmas. The hurricane cut power to those manufacturing plants, and they are still struggling to get back to full production mode. In addition to the impact from Hurricane Maria, Baxter also faced higher product demand for crisis situations with the Las Vegas shooting and the California wildfires.

Patel said a team at Duke met to discuss the shortage.and to devise a solution.

Erin Fox, who tracks nationwide drug shortages and heads the University of Utah health system's drug information and support services, said its hospital system now has five to eight pharmacists a day working on nothing but managing shortages.

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For now, hospitals are finding alternative ways to treat patients, including directly injecting drugs into them without the fluids or giving them pills if possible. "Our manufacturers are rebuilding as quickly as they possibly can and they've been accommodating where needed when we urgently had needs for certain products".

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