COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- A critical shortage at hospitals across the country and right here in Central Ohio is possibly putting your health and that of your family at risk. Saline bags that are used for IV’s are running dangerously low.
Medical officials to ABC 6/FOX 28 this is due in part to Hurricane Maria that hit Puerto Rico. A number of the facilities that produce the products have been shut down since that storm. Hospitals and medical facilities across the state are now finding unique ways to ensure the safety of patients.
It’s something you probably never thought about, something that never concerned you. Medical officials told ABC 6/FOX 28 that it should now.
“This is probably an unprecedented shortage, no pun intended. It literally is the perfect storm,” said Curt Passafeme.
Passafume, the system Vice President of Pharmacy Services for Ohio Health, said it’s been an ongoing issue for the past three years.
“This had characteristics that we really weren’t feeling good about,” said Passafume.
The problem has ramped up following Hurricane Maria’s devastating hit on Puerto Rico. A number of producers of saline bags have been shut down.
“Now the pipeline is not being replenished. Manufacturing’s offline. The pipeline of products is now drying up,” said Passafume.
Hospital officials across the country and in Central Ohio are calling on the FDA and drug makers operating in Puerto Rico to release more information about what other products might soon be in short supply, as well as to allow hospitals to purchase some supplies from overseas. In the meantime, they’re being forced to think outside the box.
“Now we take these big bags and break them down to smaller quantities,” said Passafume.
Medical facilities are now being forced to find creative alternatives to care for thousands of patients. Despite the issues, Passafume stressed that patient care is still the utmost of importance.
“The way we deliver it might change and how we take care of it might change, but at the end of the day, we’re still doing the same thing for our patients,” said Passafume.
In an effort to help in some way with this IV shortage, the FDA is now allowing imports of saline and other IV solutions from manufacturing facilities in Australia and Ireland. It could possibly take up to a year for those facilities in Puerto Rico to be back up and running.