Opioid shortages, caused by government or fear of government reprisal, are leading to patients being tormented and to overdoses.
A massive Kaiser Health News story tells of “the other opioid crisis” which consists of patients in pain due to opioid shortages in hospitals. Why would manufacturers not produce enough injectable morphine and other opioids. Kaiser doesn’t spell anything out in detail, but it refers to “manufacturing setbacks” due to a “government effort to reduce addiction by restricting drug production.”
This even results in accidental overdoses as hospital staff attempts to help people in acute pain lead to overusing less powerful drugs.
I don’t blame Donald Trump for caring about the opioid crisis. But what makes the problem of opioid abuse more important than the needs of people “undergoing surgery, fighting cancer or suffering traumatic injuries”?
Kaiser Health News reports, “The Other Opioid Crisis: Hospital Shortages Lead To Patient Pain, Medical Errors.”
Even as opioids flood American communities and fuel widespread addiction, hospitals are facing a dangerous shortage of the powerful painkillers needed by patients in acute pain, according to doctors, pharmacists and a coalition of health groups.
The shortage, though more significant in some places than others, has left many hospitals and surgical centers scrambling to find enough injectable morphine, Dilaudid and fentanyl — drugs given to patients undergoing surgery, fighting cancer or suffering traumatic injuries. The shortfall, which has intensified since last summer, was triggered by manufacturing setbacks and a government effort to reduce addiction by restricting drug production.
As a result, hospital pharmacists are working long hours to find alternatives, forcing nurses to administer second-choice drugs or deliver standard drugs differently. That raises the risk of mistakes — and already has led to at least a few instances in which patients received potentially harmful doses, according to the nonprofit Institute for Safe Medication Practices, which works with health care providers to promote patient safety.
In the institute’s survey of hospital pharmacists last year, one provider reported that a patient received five times the appropriate amount of morphine when a smaller-dose vial was out of stock. In another case, a patient was mistakenly given too much sufentanil, which can be up to 10 times more powerful than fentanyl, the ideal medication for that situation.
In response to the shortages, doctors in states as far-flung as California, Illinois and Alabama are improvising the best they can.
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