Shortage of Drugs Means Few With Emergency Responders

10:29 PM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
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Calhoun County, SC (WLTX) -Medicines like Benadryl may be common place in your medicine cabinet or on your shelves, but if you're a paramedic chances are you are having to deal without it.  

Nationwide, there is a shortage of different medications due to what experts say is a slowdown in production.

This national shortage has trickled down to local EMS workers and in places like Calhoun County, it's becoming a major problem.

In your time of need hearing a siren can become a comforting noise. But after a recent shortage of drugs EMS workers have to use their second and third methods in order to keep you healthy.

"We don't have any Atropine. I think we have a total of 6 pre-filled syringes in the entire county," said Crystal Youmans.

Atropine is a drug used for people with a slow heart rate, and that's not the only drug that is lacking in Calhoun County.

"D-50 is what we are having a hard time getting and that is what we use for our diabetic patients who are altered or confused and we aren't able to give them oral glucose."

Youmans with the county EMS says with the D-50 shortage they have to purchase Glucagon, a drug that costs about $150 for one use. She says being a county with a small budget makes things difficult.

"It can be a challenging moment when you are trying to come up in the spur of the moment when you are trying to take care of a patient and at the same time you are trying to think of the most logistical friendly way to take care of them."

This shortage has not only hit the Midlands, it's a nationwide issue that's affecting, EMS workers, hospitals and pharmacies.

The FDA says the shortage is from high demand and a quality or manufacturing issue with the drug companies.

In the midst of having a long wait-time to get drugs or trying to find the money to afford them Youmans doesn't want residents to think that workers are not prepared to help save your life.

"The medications that we are lacking... we have opportunities to do other treatments, maybe its not the treatment that we would do first but we still have other things to remedy the problems at hand."

The FDA says they are trying to work with the drug companies to cut down on this shortage. But local doctors and first responders say they don't see any light at the end of the tunnel any time soon.












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