- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014
Wisconsin hospitals conserving saline in shortage

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Wisconsin’s hospitals and first responders are conserving intravenous saline solution after federal officials warned of a national shortage possibly linked to an influenza outbreak.

Medical officials say they’re cautious but not worried yet and patient care shouldn’t be affected. Suppliers of the salt solution, which is used to rehydrate trauma patients and assist in the delivery of drugs, say they’re ramping up production but can’t guarantee when the supply will be fully replenished.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration began receiving reports in December of supply problems, production delays due to maintenance and other issues at three major saline-solution makers. The FDA began monitoring the situation and seeking alternate sources, said Valerie Jensen, the associate director of the agency’s drug-shortages program.


She said the problem was exacerbated by high demand, potentially due to an increase in influenza patients who needed fluids.

FDA officials haven’t heard of situations where patient care has been affected, but doctors are reassessing how they use saline solution.

“Hospitals are having to make decisions to treat more critical patients,” Jensen said.

First responders also are being cautious, conserving their supplies and using smaller dosages.

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2 rural Wis. hospitals to stop delivering babies

NEILLSVILLE, Wis. (AP) - Two hospitals in west-central Wisconsin will stop delivering babies, saying it’s too hard to recruit doctors willing to assist with births at rural medical centers.

Memorial Medical Center in Neillsville will no longer deliver babies starting Feb. 15. Rusk County Memorial Hospital in Ladysmith will suspend deliveries March 2, a move officials hope will be temporary, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported (http://bit.ly/1fTmXNrhttp://bit.ly/1fTmXNr ).

Both medical centers have been directing expectant mothers to hospitals in neighboring communities, including Black River Falls, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire and Rice Lake.

Lisa Montgomery, a business-development manager at Memorial Medical Center, said one factor in closing the birth center was the declining numbers of deliveries. About 30 babies are born in Neillsville every year, she said.

Over the past five years, Rusk County Memorial Hospital saw between 47 and 68 births per year, hospital CEO Charisse Oland said.

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