IV fluid shortage could lead to crisis

NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Healthcare facilities across the country are wrestling with a shortage of saline products.

It’s made in Puerto Rico and companies are struggling to fill the backlog of orders after Hurricane Maria. The small saline bag is used for chemotherapy and other treatments but supply is dwindling.

Caring for people has always been a passion for Nicole Reidel. She worries as a major treatment for her patients is becoming scarce.

The main manufacturer of saline bags are still operating on generators in the wake of the hurricane.

Reidel says their clinic is getting 20 percent of their usual volume of saline, “I hold my breath waiting for the Fed Ex truck each day, hoping that we will have IV fluids on that truck”

Healthcare facilities across the country are dangerously low on IV fluids. Alternatives include dextrose, a simple sugar but Reidel says the majority of their patients are diabetic.

The FDA has been struggling to keep saline solutions flowing since 2014. The hurricane made things worse.

Reidel calls this the perfect storm, “I will have to call these patients who already are dealing with so much and say I’m sorry I cannot administer your chemotherapy today.”

The FDA says they’ve recently approved IV solution products from two companies outside of the U.S. Many are still waiting for that approval and Reidel says time is running out.

“Our federal government could lift those restrictions and keep my clinic running and keep my patients going,” Reidel said.

Healthcare facilities have been able to share with one another but that can only last so long.

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