U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07), a physician, expressed concern in a recent interview about a potential shortage of sedatives for COVID-19 patients on ventilators.
Patients placed on ventilators are intubated, which can be a grueling process without the right medications.
“You can imagine if I tried to shove a plastic tube down your throat, it’s a very human reflex not to let someone do that. So we place people in deep sedation,” Esther Choo, a professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, told Vox in a recent interview.
Green said he has been talking with his local emergency room physicians who are concerned about running out of sedatives needed for placing patients on ventilators.
“They do have the PPE that they need to do their job. There are certain things that are now – initially, we were concerned about supplies, swabs and PPE, and it flipped to ventilators. Now it’s something we didn’t think about but when you put a person on a ventilator, you have to paralyze them so they don’t fight the ventilator and put them to sleep. Well, those medications that we use to do that when someone is on a ventilator – we are going through those supplies massively,” he said during an appearance on “The Jeff Poor Show.”
Dr. Erin Fox, who investigates drug shortages around the country, told ABC News that “some of the most commonly used drugs to intubate and maintain a patient on a ventilator are running in short supply.”
“We see a tsunami of patients coming our way, and we don’t see a tsunami of drug availability coming our way. It’s scary to think, you might not have enough medicine,” she said.
In a recent interview on Fox News, Green called the PPE shortage and other concerns surrounding the medical supply chain “a national security issue.”
We must increase our strategic stockpiles and fix our reliance on China– the country that started this virus– for our Nation's supply of medications and medical supplies.
— Rep. Mark Green (@RepMarkGreen) April 4, 2020
“The lessons learned from this: we’ve got to increase our strategic stockpiles, we’ve got to disburse them and have more locations for those, and we clearly have got to fix this issue of relying on China, the guys who started this whole virus, for medications and medical supplies,” said Green.
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