Drastic drop in drug supplies for Hawaii hospitals

Many patients arrived at Hawaii's busiest trauma emergency room in pain."It could be patient suffering from tr...

Posted: Jul 6, 2018 9:40 AM
Updated: Jul 6, 2018 9:40 AM

Many patients arrived at Hawaii's busiest trauma emergency room in pain.

"It could be patient suffering from trauma, injuries from an accident, or an accident of some sort," Dr. Howard Klemmer, Queen's Medical Center ER physician said.

Doctors at the Queen's Medical Center, and others around Hawaii, no longer have a number of common medications to help.

"We're experiencing some shortages with injectable pain medications," Klemmer said.

He added pain medications are important to keep patients out of distress, so they can make rational decisions about their healthcare - instead of only focusing on the pain.

But morphine and other opiate-based medications are especially hard to find, not just in Hawaii, but across the country.

"Some of the injectable medications for blood pressure, heart rate control are also limited," Klemmer said.

Even simple items like saline are in short supply.

Klemmer said the drug shortage is just a nuisance and hasn't affect patient care at Queen's, so far.

He and his ER staff use alternative medications. Different drugs vary in effectiveness, duration and have side effects than doctors and nurses may not be used to seeing. Which gives everyone one more thing to think about, during a life and death emergency.

"It created a level of fear and uncertainty, because we like to able to know what we'll be able to use as resources for patients," Klemmer said.

Part of the reason for the shortage is because Pfizer, the largest manufacturer of generic injectables in the U.S., ran into problems at a number of its plants - including the one that made the Epi-pen. Repeated violations resulted in a drop in production.

"The one that was worrisome to us was the Epi-pen, These are critical medications for people who suffer from anafilaxis," he said.

Now the company has depleted all stocks of certain pain medications and other important drugs. Not only will they be out for the busy summer months, the shortage is expected to stretch into next year.

While periodic drug shortages have happened before, doctors and pharmacists are bringing the issue to light because this time around it has been more drastic.

"I've been practicing emergency medicine for 25 years now, and the last 6-7 years have been the worst that I've ever seen as far as shortages," Klemmer said.

Seven years ago, there were 251 medications listed as in short supply according to the Food and Drug Administration. The number dropped to 50 last year but has doubled since that time. Now there remains a shortage of more than 100 medications.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93556

Reported Deaths: 2810
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6974155
DeSoto541155
Harrison373272
Jackson338867
Madison320886
Rankin319075
Lee260667
Jones242078
Forrest239070
Washington217971
Lafayette208439
Lauderdale1999124
Bolivar179465
Oktibbeha175050
Lamar163134
Neshoba1536103
Panola144027
Sunflower141744
Lowndes139957
Warren138150
Leflore136980
Pontotoc123416
Pike121248
Monroe118865
Scott116425
Copiah116233
Coahoma112327
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106753
Grenada106135
Yazoo103829
Simpson101143
Union97824
Tate95137
Leake93937
Adams91936
Wayne87721
Pearl River86550
Marion84133
Prentiss81117
Covington80522
Alcorn77311
Itawamba76221
Newton75723
Tallahatchie75418
George74913
Winston72419
Tishomingo65837
Chickasaw65524
Tippah64216
Attala64125
Walthall59325
Clay57817
Hancock56121
Jasper55415
Noxubee54315
Clarke53539
Smith52314
Calhoun50612
Tunica47913
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41714
Perry40718
Quitman3745
Humphreys37315
Stone35511
Greene34517
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32511
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2429
Benton2191
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131405

Reported Deaths: 2292
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19015337
Mobile13066289
Montgomery8674173
Madison758375
Tuscaloosa7240114
Lee571359
Shelby568450
Baldwin506149
Marshall383543
Etowah335547
Calhoun333839
Morgan319726
Houston270822
Elmore254947
DeKalb235519
St. Clair223435
Walker222680
Talladega206926
Limestone199519
Cullman184517
Dallas174826
Franklin174328
Russell17132
Autauga169024
Lauderdale164633
Colbert160626
Escambia156225
Blount155114
Jackson150611
Chilton148527
Dale133043
Covington130927
Coffee12778
Pike11559
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113042
Clarke104917
Marion94228
Butler90938
Barbour8357
Winston70912
Marengo69919
Lowndes64827
Pickens63514
Bibb63210
Hale61528
Randolph60812
Bullock58714
Lawrence58520
Monroe5758
Geneva5724
Cherokee56516
Washington54613
Clay5427
Perry5376
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52311
Crenshaw52331
Macon47720
Henry4724
Fayette4219
Sumter41819
Lamar3462
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3236
Greene30015
Coosa1643
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Oxford
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Starkville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 64°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather