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EDs struggle with growing drug shortages

PBS News Hour, August 30, 2011

The number of medications on the Food and Drug Administration's shortage list keeps growing. And while calcium chloride and potassium phosphate aren't drug names the average American would recognize, they're critical to patients visiting the emergency room every day. "It seems more and more frequently that we're being alerted to some shortage of a medication that really has been a staple in the emergency department," according to Dr. Bill Frohna, the chairman of Emergency Medicine at Washington Hospital Center. The shortage hasn't yet adversely effected patients at his hospital, the largest private hospital in Washington, D.C. But, like nearly every other hospital in the United States, it's struggling to come up with workarounds for the shortage list.