Bloomberg News: Medical Saline Shortage Hits U.S. Hospitals Reeling from Omicron
By Anna Edney
A staple of standard medical care is in short supply in the U.S. due to the most recent wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine could make matters worse.
Saline solution is used in hospitals for everything from reconstituting drugs to flushing intravenous lines to rehydrating patients. It is a routine but critically important part of taking care of cancer patients, kids suffering from the flu, or people who wind up in the hospital because of an accident. Even a small hospital can use saline thousands of times a day.
But a confluence of factors, including supply-chain bottlenecks, high demand caused by the influx of omicron patients into hospitals, and virus-related worker scarcity have made these fundamental products harder to find. Saline vials and bags of all sizes are in shortage in the U.S., according to the Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers say they are working hard to meet demand, and new production facilities are coming online.
Children’s Mercy Kansas City, for example, has been able to get only about 70% of the saline it normally needs, even as cold weather sends more kids with respiratory viruses to the Missouri-based pediatric medical center, said pharmacy head Bethany Baker. Hospitals workers have struggled because they’re used to treating kids with small vials and bags -- the first saline products to run out.
“Smaller kids, smaller veins,” Baker said. “Everything small kind of fell off the table for us.”
Read the full article via Bloomberg News
Learn more about COVID-19