Flu patient surge hits hospitals amid sterile fluid shortage

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Baxter, one of the main producers of IV saline fluids, got power back to its Puerto Rican plant in late December after weeks of outages. A request for similar information to Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg was not returned. Baystate Medical Center in Springfield is among the hospitals feeling this depletion.

The worst part of the shortage deals with small saline bags. In December, the Globe reported the number of flu cases has quadrupled from past year, and the Joplin area's total doubled. This means that patients are receiving certain medications through a syringe that is inserted into the IV, versus through an IV bag...

"FEMA said, "Come to the US - in this case, come to CT".

According to a statement emailed to the Globe, Mercy Hospital Joplin checks inventory levels on a daily basis, and when potential for a shortage appears imminent it moves to another supplier.

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Now, Xcel Energy crews are being called in to help restore the destroyed power grid. Despite the lack of leadership, however, they said "miracles" are happening everyday as the people of Puerto Puerto Rico respond heroically to the challenges.

The Joplin region hasn't been immune to this season's flu outbreak. In addition to the impact from Hurricane Maria, Baxter also faced higher product demand for crisis situations with the Las Vegas shooting and the California wildfires.

The shortage has forced hospitals to use bigger, less convenient bags. "Nationally, everybody was doing the same thing, so as soon as we switched it from one product to the next, that quickly became a shortage in its own right", Britton added.

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