Hospitals Deal With IV Bag Shortage

Minot, ND - Your local hospital is likely busy these days trying to make sure you'll have the fluids and drugs you'll need if you become a patient.

Jim Olson reports hospitals are dealing with a shortage of the IV bags that are a foundation of how they deliver drugs to people on the mend.

(Randy Schwan, Trinity VP for Mission Integration) "Hundreds of bags, thousands of bags a day."

That's how many of these your local hospital goes through - the IV bags are ubiquitous in health care

(Carolyn Seehafer, Trinity Director of Pharmacy) "For a pharmacy, that's how we actually get our medicines delivered to our patients."

But ever since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico this fall, the supply of the bags and fluids has been getting tight because much the island supplies a large percentage of those items to hospitals across the country.

(Randy Schwan, Trinity VP for Mission Integration) "It's a little shocking that such a basic item in our arsenal to deliver drugs to our patients are in such short supply."

Randy Schwan of Trinity Health says the hospital has tapped into the State Medical Cache - a stockpile of critical supplies that was established with federal funds after 9-11 and the anthrax scare of 2001.

(Randy Schwan, Trinity VP for Mission Integration) "So it's a vital support service for healthcare in the state and I think they were forward-looking in getting it set up."
(Tim Wiedrich, ND Health Department) "It's necessary to stockpile these during times when there really isn't an emergency so we have them available when we need them."

While state and local medical care officials are planning for the worst, Schwan says it's important to note the situation is by no means critical right now.

(Randy Schwan, Trinity VP for Mission Integration) "Today we're doing OK. We're not out of solution. We're getting supplies sent to us by our vendors. So we're not in a panic we're just trying to conserve and maintain our supply."

And hoping they don't have to do anything that might impact patient care.
Jim Olson, KX News.

CHI-St. Alexius reports some shortages of IV bags and related materials as well.

We reached out to our US Senators and were told the FDA is working on making the importation of IV bags and fluids easier to alleviate the shortage - but a state officials says any benefit from that will be a while in coming.


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