Drug Shortages Leave Hospitals and EMS in Low Supply

Because of drug shortages that have plagued pharmacies nationwide, departments like Middletown (OH) have had trouble at times buying drugs such as dextrose, a sugar water used to treat diabetic patients, or Narcan, a life-saving antidote that reverses a drug overdose, reports The Journal-News.

This week, it was morphine, the drug used to soothe injured patients while an ambulance carts them to the hospital, that’s on the short list. All six bags that Middletown’s EMS crews carry contain a dose of morphine and Todd Day, who oversees Middletown’s EMS crews, has one vial for back-up.

But if the department uses it all anytime soon, Day isn’t sure how quickly he could stock up again.

"If we're out, we just can't get it," Day said. "It's typically not a drug that's going to be a life or death drug. That just means there will be a little more pain and suffering until they get to the hospital."

Drug shortages have been commonplace for years, but the problem has grown more serious at hospitals and Emergency Medical Service agencies.

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