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1/19/2018 12:52:00 PM
IV bag shortages hit hospitals during flu season

Chelsea Boulrisse, Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

As if the increased traffic in local emergency rooms wasn’t enough, hospitals across the country are also reporting a shortage of intravenous fluid bags during a time where they often need them the most.

Last fall, Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, leaving almost the entire island without power or clean water. As efforts to clean up after the storm are still underway, cited for moving slower than expected, industries based on the island are still struggling to get their footing back. 

One of these industries is the production and distribution of medical supplies like IV fluid bags.

Parkview Health saw early the implications that Hurricane Maria would have on the market and proactively bought enough supplies to hopefully last until the manufacturing was on track again.

“That manufacturer is one we don’t particularly work with, but when one goes down the other health care systems reach out to other manufacturers,” Parkview director of communications Eric Clabaugh said. “Within a couple of days we were on top of it and recognized early on this could result in shortages nationwide.”

Lutheran Health Network confirmed that it, like many other hospitals in the country, is feeling the squeeze. As a result, the hospitals are finding alternative ways to administer medicine and ensure that their limited supply is being utilized by those who need it most.

While Puerto Rico continues to rebuild after Hurricane Maria, the end of this perceived shortage is still unclear, so both LHN and Parkview are taking measures to stretch their stocks as far as possible and get the supplies to the patients who need them most.

“Our clinicians are continuing to provide safe patient care by prioritizing usage and using alternate methods of medication administration when appropriate, such as injection rather than infusion bag, or oral instead of intravenous,” LHN Public Relations Supervisor Geoff Thomas said.

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