HEALTH -- August 29, 2011 at 6:07 PM EDT
Emergency Departments Struggle With Growing Drug Shortages
Photo by Sarah Clune/NewsHour.
The number of medications on the Food and Drug Administration's shortage list keeps growing. And while calcium chloride and potassium phosphate aren't drug names the average American would recognize, they're critical to patients visiting the emergency room every day.
"It seems more and more frequently that we're being alerted to some shortage of a medication that really has been a staple in the emergency department," according to Dr. Bill Frohna, the chairman of Emergency Medicine at Washington Hospital Center.
The shortage hasn't yet adversely effected patients at his hospital, the largest private hospital in Washington, D.C. But, like nearly every other hospital in the United States, it's struggling to come up with workarounds for the shortage list.
We spoke to Dr. Frohna earlier this month. Highlights of our conversation are in the video below.
(Hari Sreenivasan contributed to this report. Video edited by Timothy Smith.)