Local hospitals adjusting after Hurricane Maria damage causes sh - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Local hospitals adjusting after Hurricane Maria damage causes shortage of IV bags

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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- We've seen the damage Hurricane Maria did to Puerto Rico, but the monster storm's effects are also causing unseen problems months later thousands of miles away in Kentuckiana.

When the hurricane hit, it seriously damaged Baxter International, the company that makes IV bags that Clark Memorial Hospital depends on.

"I don't think we fully realized how many pharmaceutical plants were on Puerto Rico," said Lance Ballard, Director of Pharmacy at Clark Memorial Hospital's Director of Pharmacy. "At least I didn't."

Like the rest of the Puerto Rico, Baxter is working to get back on its feet. Employees in the pharmacy at Clark Memorial are figuring out how to work with less.

"I think this has truly been the worst ... As bad as it can be," Ballard said. "Every day here, we have a daily safety brief with all the leaders in the organization, and we talk about the shortages there, how we're coping and what's the plan."

So far, they've done all right. Employees have rationed some and used syringes for IV pushes.

"What we do is we take that same drug, we dilute it down and put it into a syringe, and then it is slowly pushed and given to the patient," Ballard said.

It's more work on the nurses, but it saves IV bags, and every patient is still getting the drugs they need.

Kentuckiana's Baptist Hospitals have been looking for solutions too, one of which has come in giving cancer patients going through chemotherapy a pill for treatment instead of an IV.

Norton managed to dodge the bullet, because its IV provider is based in Texas. Clark Memorial hopes to get the supply back up by February or March at the earliest. 

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