With Saline in Short Supply, Hospitals Look for Alternatives
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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