US Suffers From IV Bag Shortage


Although commonplace in medical dramas, IV bags in the United States are currently growing rarer and rarer, meaning patients suffering from illness as innocuous as the flu will have to suffer through longer hospital stays, more miserable experiences and, in some situations, even death. Patients with more serious treatments that require already-long stays only have it worse.

IV bags, sometimes known as drips, are sealed bags filled with a sterile solution and connected to a tube that is inserted into a patient, used to provide patients with hydration and nutrition when they aren’t able to drink or eat for long periods of time. The nature of the IV bags mean that these bags must be specially manufactured in order to prevent the fluids inside from being contaminated by outside sources.

This issue arose in early October, in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Though Puerto Rico had survived, many of its areas were heavily damaged and left without power, including the manufacturing plants of Baxter International, the largest provider of IV bags in the United States. With its plants unable to function, Baxter’s IV bag production slowed down to a crawl – and now that the flu season has hit, many Americans are feeling the effect of this production slump, with multiple news articles popping up about the sudden lack of much-needed medical supplies. One man even has a tale of how his wife, who suffers from cancer and needs chemotherapy twice a month, had to have her pre-meds manually injected by a nurse.

While the recovery of the island will undeniably take time, you can help by providing donations to one of the many organizations working to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria. Even a small amount of money can make a big difference when it comes to disaster relief.