A report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicated that shortages will start to ease soon, but emphasized that "the production situation in Puerto Rico remains fragile".
Steward Health Care, which operates Trumbull Regional Medical Center, Northside Regional Medical Center and Sharon Regional Medical Center and Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland, said it has "never had this national shortage affect any aspect of patient care here locally". Flu season usually peaks in January and February in the United States.
"Puerto Rico is an American territory and we deserve the same treatment as Texas, Florida, and any other state", Arce said.
Sources claim, the team has been mostly focusing on southeastern coasts that suffered the catastrophic aftermath of Hurricane Maria toward the end of past year.
Supplies of saline and nutrient solutions were already tight before hurricanes pounded Puerto Rico and cut power to manufacturing plants that make much of the USA supply of fluid-filled bags used to deliver sterile solutions to patients.
Thompson said Freeman does the same and, like other hospitals across the country, has been more careful to use IV fluids only when necessary.
Only a few other companies make those solutions, and supplies never fully recovered after a 2014 shortage of saline bags. The hurricane cut power to those manufacturing plants, and they are still struggling to get back to full production mode. Superintendent Leslie Torres Rodriguez said at a news conference Wednesday she anticipates the unplanned expenses related to accommodating them will reach $1 million this year.
For now, hospitals are finding alternative ways to treat patients, including directly injecting drugs into them without the fluids or giving them pills if possible.
"It would've been ideal to have a redundant system in place to manage it", said Patel. "Our manufacturers are rebuilding as quickly as they possibly can and they've been accommodating where needed when we urgently had needs for certain products".