90% of ER physicians had shortages of critical medicine in the last month: 5 notes

About 90 percent of emergency physicians have experienced shortages or absences of critical medications in their emergency departments in the last month, according to a recent poll conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

For its poll, the college's Emergency Medicine Practice Research Network fielded responses from 247 ED physicians between April 15 and May 6 about their experiences. .

Here are five report insights.

1. About 90 percent of ER physicians reported their EDs lacked critical medications.

2. Nine in 10 physicians had to take time away from patient care to look for alternative treatments and medications.

3. Seventy percent of ER physicians said drug shortages have "increased a lot" in the last year. Forty percent of physicians said patients have been negatively affected.

4. A vast majority of ER physicians (93 percent) said their EDs were not fully prepared for a patient surge in the event of a mass casualty or natural or man-made disaster.

5. "Hospitals and emergency medical services continue to suffer significant gaps in disaster preparedness, as well as national drug shortages for essential emergency medications," said Paul Kivela, MD, and president of ACEP. "These shortages can last for months or longer and constitute a significant risk to patients. Emergency physicians are concerned that our system cannot even meet daily demands, let alone during a medical surge for a natural or man-made disaster."

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