Hamilton County EMS avoids national shortage of IV solution

Hamilton County EMT's use bags of Sodium Chloride on nearly every patient they treat. (Courtesy: WTVC)

Hospitals across the country are scrambling to avoid a shortage of IV solution.

The shortage comes after production at manufacturing plants located in Puerto Rico has slowed given damage to the island's infrastructure after hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The NewsChannel 9 newsroom investigated what the supply of the necessity looks like in local area hospitals.

Calls to Erlanger, CHI Memorial and Parkridge Medical Center revealed that all major care providers in the area have contingency plans in place to keep the supply of IV fluid fully stocked.

Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services is also keeping a watchful eye on their reserves.

"After the recent hurricane that factory or factories sustained quite a bit of damage and that impacted the supply chain," Ken Wilkerson, director of Hamilton County EMS, tells NewsChannel 9.

Wilkerson was alerted to the shortage by a notification from his distributor and the state.

Hamilton County EMT's use Sodium Chloride bags for IV Solution on almost every call they make.

"They are common. They are very common," Wilkerson says as he shows off his fully stocked supply room.

The director has managed to avoid a devastating shortage by keeping supply options open.

"It's additional effort, additional work, additional time, that's required to maintain the same level," but Wilkerson says it can be done.

Baxter International supplies Hamilton County EMS with Sodium Chloride bags.

In a statement, Baxter International told NewsChannel 9 in part, "Baxter’s three manufacturing sites sustained minimal structural damage from Hurricane Maria and limited production has resumed."

Much like Hamilton County EMS, the manufacturer has "contingencies in place to keep these systems running."

Wilkerson says his reserves are fine for the moment and wants to reassure the public "that even though these types of assurances happen that we stand prepared. No one will ever see a lessening of the service or lessening of the quality or type of medical care that's provided."

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