Drug shortages plague ERs during 'trauma season': 4 things to know

Hospitals across the U.S. have resorted to using alternative medications with adverse side effects to treat patients due to ongoing drug shortages, which is now exacerbated by the current "trauma season," according to The New York Times.

Here are the four things to know:

1. Summer is often referred to as "trauma season," since emergency departments see an increase in injuries related to bike accidents, car crashes, broken bottles, gunshots and record-high temperatures.

2. Treating these patients proves complicated, as many hospitals nationwide are in short supply of sterile injectable drugs, pain medications and saline solutions. For example, Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago has been out of morphine since March. The hospital was forced to treat one patient with fentanyl instead, which he complained was not as effective at managing his pain.  

3. The American College of Emergency Physicians surveyed 247 emergency room physicians in May and found nine out of ten did not have access to critical medicines, which negatively affected four out of 10 patients.

4. Erin Fox, PhD, professor of pharmacology at the University of Utah in Salt Like City, told The New York Times: "We've had all of these shortages before at different times, but what’s harder about it right now is that it’s all at once."

Here are more artilces on clinical leadership and infection control: 

13 statistics on never events
APIC launches infection preventionist recruitment video
Infection preventionists in rural facilities are less likely to be certified, survey finds

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