Drug shortage means more work for emergency medical teams

Crews must find ways to work around shortages

INDIANAPOLIS - A national drug shortage is hitting the Hoosier state, making it more difficult for emergency responders to treat patients.

D-50, short for Dextrose, is a medicine paramedics frequently use to treat patients with diabetes.
Right now, some stations are unable to restock that drug because of a nationwide Dextrose shortage.

EMS workers with the White River Township Fire Department say they do the best they can with what they've got, but the problem now is that they don't have much.

"This is normally where we would keep our D-50 and we are currently out right now," said White River Township EMS Chief Casey Arkins, showing an empty space in a supply drawer. "Drug manufacturers are blaming the government, government is blaming them."

The FDA's website says it's a supply and demand issue. It estimates the shortage will last several more months.

Dextrose is not the only medication that's hard to find. More critical cardiac drugs, like Epinephrine, are on the short supply list as well.

Arkins's team has a workaround there, but it's one that takes some additional math and adds three to four minutes to their usual routine.

"We make do with what we've got," Arkins said. "Our paramedics are trained really well. They can handle anything, but it gets frustrating to them when they know what needs done and they can't fix the problem. "

For this team of emergency responders, they can't do anything about the shortage but wait and hope production increases soon.



Follow Chance Walser on Twitter: @chancewalserrtv

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