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With Saline in Short Supply, Hospitals Look for Alternatives

Lena J. Weiner, for HealthLeaders Media, May 16, 2014

But the allocations have been meager. "You get maybe 60% of what you usually get," said Jaspan. "Sixty percent will not cover everything you need when you're used to 100%."

No Impact on Quality Detected
And "sometimes, what you thought you were going to get doesn't come through. Every day is disaster mode planning, figuring out how to minimize the impact for patients," Fox says.

Despite all the work Jaspan's team has done in substituting and stretching their resources, there's been no impact on the quality of care to his organization's patients. "I haven't read or heard about it impacting [quality in] any other hospitals, either," he said.

"We're working so hard to make the problem invisible [to patients]," says Fox. Until the shortage has completely cleared up, she urges healthcare leadership to be supportive of the clinicians who need additional time to build a plan, and that they understand the cost implications.

According to Russell, it may be a long wait. He takes the FDA's recent decision to grant Fresenius Kabi permission to export saline to the US through the end of 2014 as a sign that the shortage will last until at least the end of the year.


Lena Weiner is an Associate Editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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3 comments on "With Saline in Short Supply, Hospitals Look for Alternatives"


Janet Mlinar (5/20/2014 at 1:32 AM)
I agree with making or at least storing large quantities of IV saline in hospital pharmacies. Along with reusing the same IV bag with the same patient. As long as sterile refills are applied. We have a growing population of people worldwide. Part of keeping up with this demand is having large quantities of what we know we will need at hand or at least having the capability of making or compounding medications as needed.

MB Rosenstiel, RN, DNP (5/16/2014 at 2:38 PM)
Seems to a clear move to increase the cost of a relatively inexpensive healthcare item to me. Perhaps it is time for pharmD's to compound in-house and use all the education they recieved. Might actually be less expensive and safer in the end!

David Morledge, PhD (5/16/2014 at 10:27 AM)
A broken system. Clearly we need a national security initiative related to basic healthcare supply systems, with requisite manufacturing in the U.S.