Wednesday, February 1, 2023

National shortage affects patients at Northeast Arkansas hospital


JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – As shortages continue from just about every necessity possible, hospitals across the nation are in the same boat.

The shortage is with a liquid IV contrast used to highlight different structures in your body, and the shortage has forced St. Bernards Medical Center to get creative.

The shortage stems from the temporary closure of GE Healthcare’s manufacturing facility in Shanghai due to COVID-19 spiking throughout the country.

“The dye is a contrast that allows us to see these images better,” said media relations manager Mitchell Nail. “It is used a lot in the day-to-day around the hospital.”

He said the hospital is finding other ways to serve its patients.

“We are reliant on other forms of imaging as much as possible but also making sure you’re a good steward with the resource that you have,” Nail said.

The contrast dye can be injected into a patient’s bloodstream to highlight different structures on scans. It can find different things like the location of a clot or a mass in someone’s body.

That means the hospital must be smart where they use their limited supply.

“You know you want to make sure that it’s reserved for those in the emergency department, somebody like a trauma victim,” Nail said. “You want to make sure it’s reserved for your cancer setting too so your oncology can use it as well.”

The access to the dye is something St. Bernards won’t have for weeks, so they are taking extra steps to ensure they’re using it productively.

“We have to be more detailed than ever before with how we use the dye,” Nail said. “If we are going to use it on someone, we must make sure it’s the right amount for their exact height and weight.”

Although St. Bernards expects the facility to be back up and running by the end of the month, they said the shortage may last them a couple more months.

Region 8 News reached out to NEA Baptist for comment on whether they’re facing the same issue. Officials said they are not but did not elaborate further.

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