KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Saline Shortage Looms After Hurricane Disrupts Production In Puerto Rico

Hospitals and others in the health industry are watching the aftermath of the hurricane with worried eyes because Puerto Rico is a hub of manufacturing for pharmaceuticals.

The Washington Post: Hospitals Scramble To Avert Saline Shortage In Wake Of Puerto Rico Disaster
The hurricane that wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico last month has disrupted production of widely used intravenous solutions. Several prominent hospitals across the country are scrambling to find alternative supplies, change the way they administer drugs and devise backup plans to make the fluids themselves. The products affected are smaller-volume bags of sodium chloride, known as saline, and dextrose. These normally ubiquitous solutions are used to rehydrate patients and to dilute medications from antibiotics to painkillers to cancer drugs. Their manufacturer, Baxter International, has said that “multiple production days” were lost in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and it has set up an allocation system for hospitals based on past purchases. (McGinley, 10/9)

In other news —

Miami Herald: Florida Doctors Watch Hurricane Evacuee Health Risks
Anticipating a wave of hurricane migrants from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida health officials are advising doctors and others caring for evacuees to look out for health risks associated with the aftermath of storms, including bacterial infections, puncture wounds and diseases spread by mosquitoes and animal bites. (Chang, 10/9)

Dallas Morning News: Dallas Nursing Home Chain Comes Under Fire For Not Evacuating Before Hurricane
When the police arrived at the nursing home during Hurricane Harvey, more than a foot of water filled the one-story building — along with the stench of urine and feces. Volunteers with boats stood ready to remove the 70 frail residents, many of them in wheelchairs. But the man in charge of Lake Arthur Place nursing home in Port Arthur refused to allow the evacuation, according to a police affidavit detailing the incident. He had to be handcuffed before police and volunteers could begin taking the elderly to shelters and hospitals. (Langford and Hacker, 10/9)

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