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Hospital association writes FDA about saline shortage

Saturday March 22, 2014
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The American Hospital Association has urged the Food and Drug Administration to vigorously pursue additional supplies and suppliers of normal saline and other intravenous fluids that are fundamental to patient care in hospitals.

The AHA cited the need to ease the severe, long-standing shortage of these products and prevent future shortages.

“The current shortages of IV fluid are unacceptable and must be resolved quickly to prevent a negative impact on patient care,” wrote AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack. “Currently, hospitals are scrambling to manage the shortfall and have employed strategies including using smaller IV bags, switching patients to appropriate alternatives and prioritizing patients based on clinical factors.

“While these strategies have somewhat mitigated the problem to date, the AHA is concerned that patients could face harm in the future if these shortages are not resolved quickly.

“In addition, conservation measures, while crucial to extending supplies during shortages, put hospitals in the difficult situation of explaining to patients why these seemingly simple products are unavailable, potentially eroding patient confidence in their care when they are at their most vulnerable.”

The FDA attributed the shortage in large part to the intensity of the 2013-14 flu season, resulting in higher patient volumes at hospitals.

Previous Nurse.com news brief on the saline shortage: http://news.nurse.com/article/20140129/NATIONAL06/140128007/0/NATIONAL02#.UytjiIWRceU

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