Northern Michigan Hospitals Deal With IV Bag Shortage

Hospitals across the country and here in northern Michigan are facing a shortage of IV bags.

Hospitals say they’ve had to stretch their supply of IV bags while making sure patients still get their medicine.

The bags that are in short supply are made in Puerto Rico and the factories that make them took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria.

That’s impacting hospitals thousands of miles away.

McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey has been working around a shortage of smaller IV bags for several months.

“We’re assessing patients every shift to see if they’re taking foods by mouth or eating, if they’re drinking and if they need IV fluids. We’re starting to put a lot of drugs in syringes instead that would normally be in a 50-100 ml bag,” said Kevin Pendleton Director of Pharmacy Services at McLaren Northern Michigan.

Munson Medical Center in Traverse City is also feeling the impact of the bag shortage.

“A lot of it is these medications we would mix in these bags, if we can give them directly instead of intravenously we are doing that through a syringe. If it’s equally safe and effective to give them orally, we’re doing that. We found a lot of creative ways to do these small volume infusions without IV bags,” explained Cathi Cornelius, a Clinical Pharmacy Utilization Specialist at Munson Medical Center.

But the end of the shortage may be in sight, as manufacturing in Puerto Rico picks back up.

“Every day our purchasing department is working with corporate and IV supplier. With IV fluids I can’t ever remember a time when we’ve had this critical nationwide shortage that we’ve had to do these conservation measures,” said Pendelton.

One of the major manufacturers in Puerto Rico is back on the power grid and the FDA hopes this shortage will end within the next few weeks.


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