Local hospitals feel impact of IV bag shortage

MADISON, Wis. - Hospitals around the nation are dealing with shortages of IV bags, including here in Madison. The shortage comes after Hurricane Maria cut power to a  manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico.

St. Mary's is just one of the hospitals that has seen a shortage in IV bags. Hurricane Maria  forced a temporary shutdown of Baxter's manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico that makes up more than 43 percent of the United States IV solution market.

In Madison, St. Mary's says with their three different locations including Madison, Janesville and Baraboo, they have been able to manage their supplies by sharing resources between other hospitals and conserving their supplies when necessary.

"We will have situations where certain size bags are completely depleted and that's when we have to go to a certain size bag where maybe we don't compound it. We look for manufactured product where we can buy it where we  don't have to compound it or we have to move to a syringe where we don't use as much volume," said Jessica Benjamin, SSM Health Medication Safety and Quality coordinator.

St. Mary's says unlike other hospitals around the country, workflow for nurses and care for patients has not been impacted by shortages.

Hospitals are  seeing a bigger strain on resources, during flue season. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the flu is widespread in 46 states, including Wisconsin.   

Some 561 flu-associated hospitalizations were reported last week in Wisconsin according to the department of health services. According to Benjamin, St. Mary's is monitoring their supplies but says they are confident shortages will not impact their patients.

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