Nationwide IV fluid shortage hits Cenla - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Nationwide IV fluid shortage hits Cenla

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SIMMESPORT, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - Since January, the Journal of the American Medical Association has reported a nationwide shortage of intravenous (IV) solutions, used to treat an array of medical conditions. The patients of one rural clinic are now feeling the effects of the shortage.

As the IV fluid drips, Marandia Wright and Glen Mayeux worry where their next treatment will come from.

Wright for her Lyme disease...

"Difficulty breathing, I felt like I had the flu all the time, nauseous, dizzy," said Wright. "It's still a struggle day to day, but I've improved so much since I've been here that I can at least give the illusion of being normal."

And Mayeux for his anemia, heart problems, and diabetes.

"If I don't get my B12, it's bad," Mayeux said. "It'd probably kill me: it's that serious."

Wright and Mayeux are patients at Country Clinic in Simmesport, run by Dr. Steve Kuplesky and his wife Rose, a registered nurse and BSN. 

Like many other healthcare facilities across the U.S., Country Clinic hasn't been able to get the IV solutions they need to treat patients.

"I was told the IV fluids were on back order," said Rose Kuplesky. "I said, what? She said, yes, all IV fluids are on back order."

"And of course the smaller clinics, like the kind of clinic that we are, are going to be the ones that are not going to get the IV fluids," she continued. "And hospitals are going to be on the first list to get the fluids."

The Kupleskys say, their patients are often low-income or uninsured - and rural.

"If they don't get it from us," said Dr. Kuplesky, "they're not likely to go to a hospital or ER."

"We're 30 miles from any hospital in our radius," added Rose, "and Dr. Kuplesky is the only physician in this area."

Those at Country Clinic are asking for more IV solutions, as well as a more permanent solution.

"All I'll say is, whoever's in charge, they need to get in charge and take control of it," said Glen Mayeux. "Because people are going to suffer."

"We're going to get to the bottom of this because our patients are as important to us as any hospital patient is to a hospital," said Rose Kuplesky. "And we are going to get IV bags for these patients somehow, some way."

JAMA reports that the cause is unclear, but the FDA puts some blame on the recent flu season.

Both Rapides Regional Medical Center and Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital reported no effects of the shortages on those hospitals or clinics. 

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