National IV fluid shortage affecting Wisconsin hospitals

By: Max Hess - Email
By: Max Hess - Email

Posted Friday, January 17, 2014 --- 5:25 p.m.

A national IV fluid shortage has some U.S. hospitals alarmed.

IV fluid is basically salt water, also called saline. It is used in everything as basic as treating dehydration, and frequently used in critical patient care, such as those in burn or intensive care units.

Health officials say that a recent spike in flu cases and a production shortage during the holiday season is to blame.

Ron Sliwinski, Chief Operating Officer of U.W. Hospital and Clinics, says they were well prepared.

"I think we did a good job of working with Novation and Baxter, the major suppliers, to bring people's attention to the fact that these interruptions could have an impact on patient care," Sliwnski said.

Sliwinski added that this flu season has caused a 12-percent spike in IV fluid demand. "When people become ill with the flu, especially with the H1N1 strains that we're seeing right now, sometimes it requires hospitalization," he said.

A lot of that hospitalization relates to needing to replenish fluid levels, impacting IV fluid supplies.

"We're hopeful that in the next couple of weeks we're going to see a lot more stability in terms of the supplies that we're getting," Sliwinski said, adding that U.W. Hospital and Clinics are in "good shape over the foreseeable future" in regards to IV fluid supplies.

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