Hospitals Facing Tight Supplies Of IV Solution

Feb 12, 2018

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Hurricane Maria that struck Puerto Rico is causing a conservation effort of IV solution at Wisconsin hospitals.

Officials say hospitals and health systems are taking steps to conserve their supply of IV solution as they cope with unprecedented shortages. Ann Zenk is a Wisconsin Hospital Association vice-president and a former administrator at Ministry Health Care in Rhinelander. So why is there an IV shortage?

"...one of the main manufacturers of IV fluids is in Puerto Rico. Even before the hurricane hit, you can always tell when one is on the way, the manufacturer tried to get as much existing supply to the states to preserve it. But hospitals and pharmacists knew there would be a shortage on the way...."

A survey found hospitals are rationing intravenous (IV) solution to minimize the impact on their organizations. Almost half of those hospitals say their conservation efforts are having a significant impact on staffing, scheduling or other operational issues. A few organizations reported they have come close to rescheduling procedures or sending patients to other facilities because they were so low on IV solution. Zenk gives an example of how this has changed procedures..

"...but now with the shortage being of such long duration that nurses are haivng to remain at a patient's bedside and provide that medication slowly by pushing through an IV syringe into the patient's IV...."

WHA is urging Wisconsin’s members of Congress to sign on to a letter initiated by the American Hospital Association that urges the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to address this crisis. The FDA recently announced it has taken steps to attempt to remedy this crisis by allowing the importation of saline products from other countries