The power outages that continue plaguing Puerto Rico since last fall’s hurricane Maria might seem forgotten by many, but the impact is starting to hit hospitals in Oklahoma and the U.S.
Here’s why. Puerto Rico is considered a major hub of drug manufacturing, especially those saline bags that are used to treat everything from gunshot wounds to the flu. And there’s a growing shortage of the saline bags in Puerto Rico’s still-fragile electrical grid.
It’s why OGE trucks are still enroute to the country to target restoration of electrical power in the northern part of the island. One of the biggest U.S. suppliers of the small saline bags is Baxter International Inc. which lost power last November. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration at the time gave priority access to the grid to keep the supplies flowing.
The American Hospital Association wrote Congress last fall to point out the U.S. health-care system was on “the brink of a significant public health crisis.”
Because power has yet to be restored to most of the country, the issue of those $1.50 small saline-solution bags is growing. They are the preferred method to deliver everything from painkillers and antibiotics to chemotherapy and heart drugs.