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Shortage of IV fluid nationwide raises concerns

Hospitals and emergency medical technicians across the United States have been seeing a shortage of IV intravenous fluids/ saline since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Such shortage has not gone unnoticed here in Maverick County either.

On a daily basis, EMTs from the Eagle Pass Fire Department (EPFD) conterminously monitor and assess the needs for such fluids on a patient by patient basis. EPFD Fire Chief Manuel Mello spoke of the shortage and what’s being done locally and across the nation due to this shortage. “The entire state is having this problem. We’re experiencing this shortage because one of the largest producing companies / main facilities for saline is in Puerto Rico and was affected by the Hurricane that hit. Every agency and Hospital is having issues with saline. In our part we’re screening calls as to find out who needs saline and we give them the saline if not we use another technique called a hep lock where you start the IV and at the hospital its determined if they will be administering it to them or not.” said Mello

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“This is being done because of our situation and because we don’t have Intravenous Fluid to spare. We’re having a lot of troubles receiving the amounts we really need. We often get one box and it only contains 12 liters of the solution. We really have to take care of it carefully so we can use if for severe cases of emergencies where it’s really needed.”

On a daily basis across the nation stock piles of saline, a critical medical supply, are running low. Saline solution is used in many ways including dialysis, surgery, clean wounds, to inject medication from antibiotics, chemotherapy, treat dehydration among many other medical uses. “We don’t know when this will go back to normal but I do hope that it can be resolved sooner than later.” concluded Mello

A huge percentage of the saline used in the U.S is made in Puerto Rico which was devastated after Hurricane Maria. Add on Flu season into the mix and the problem will only grow before it actually is controlled and normalized.

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