News, Patient Care, Resiliency

Lancaster County, Pa. EMS Concerned About National Drug Shortage

Fox 43

MOUNT JOY, Pa. – First responders in Pennsylvania are sounding off on a nationwide drug shortage they say is putting people in their community in danger.

Paramedic Rob Walker of Susquehanna Valley EMS tells Fox 43: “It is medications you would never believe, and the list is long, and will make you shake your head.”

Some of the drugs EMTs and paramedics in Lancaster County need include fentanyl, ketamine, epinephrine, and sodium bicarbonate, according to the report.

According to a Sept. 2018 article on JEMS written by Vincent D. Robbins, FACPE, FACHE, 93% of the shortages are caused by inadequate raw materials, problems with quality control, not enough capacity to make the drugs, and the unexpected loss of drug-making facilities.

Back in April, the National Association of EMS Physicians joined other EMS professionals in Washington, D.C., saying drug shortages is a top concern as EMS providers across the country deal with the problem.

The groups say EMTs and other emergency medical personnel are forced to restrict certain IV fluids, anti-nausea medications, and other airway management medications that have no substitute.

Walker, the paramedic in Lancaster County, Pa., tells the television station he and others must get creative with supplies as well.

“We kind of horse trade,” he said. “We work with other EMS agencies. We get on the phone, ‘what do you have?'”

A full list of medicine in short supply can be found on the website of the Food and Drug Administration.


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