Hurricane-hit Puerto Rico launches new drive for U.S. statehood


A nasty flu season is hitting US hospitals already scrambling to maintain patient care amid severe shortages of crucial sterile fluids, particularly saline solution needed to administer I.V. medicines and rehydrate patients.

Franciscan Health says it's IV fluid bag supply will not run out anytime soon, but they are running low on other options.

Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello has criticized the USA federal government's response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated the US territory in September, leaving many in Puerto Rico without power and other basic services that still have not been restored. Hospitals use hundreds or thousands daily to hydrate patients and to dilute antibiotics, painkillers and other drugs, then hang bags from a pole so the mix slowly drips through a tube and into a vein.

McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey has been working around a shortage of smaller IV bags for several months. We're going to Puerto Rico to see firsthand the devastation on the island and how we can help our fellow citizens along the path to a full recovery. "But we have not had to alter our practice whatsoever", said Heaton.

Shortages are also hitting surgery centers, cancer clinics that infuse chemotherapy, dialysis centers and companies that provide regular infusions to home-bound patients.

"We may give a medication via different route, or different amount of fluid".

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Recently, IV fluid bags became harder to come by.

A group of congressional leaders from MA is visiting Puerto Rico Friday to learn about the island's recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria.

Pasko and other hospital officials said they worry that changes in procedures and products could lead to errors.

One of the major manufacturers in Puerto Rico is back on the power grid and the FDA hopes this shortage will end within the next few weeks.

No matter the reason, Carla Mccarty the director of nursing at West Texas ER says the shortage makes her nervous.