Monday, July 29, 2013

Drug shortages: enough is enough.

Yesterday as I stood in front of our med cabinet carefully pulling up an IV medicine into a large 60cc syringe, just as I do many times each day, it felt as if my heart stopped as I heard our hospice nurse speak those words, "drug shortage", once again. She was standing in our dining room talking on her phone to Wyatt's hospice attending about increasing his dose of Fentanyl again. Those words, "drug shortage", was enough to make me want to scream or cry...I couldn't decide, but the potential was there for both of those reactions from me. "Enough is enough", I thought.

The hospice nurse and physician were talking about a current Fentanyl shortage that she was just alerted to. We've been through multiple drug shortages the last few years, shortages of medications that our son desperately needs. It's scary, plain and simple.

Due to these shortages Wyatt's been going without vitamins and nutrients in his TPN (IV nutrition) off and on throughout the last couple years and I've been known to call around the area in search of pharmacies or hospitals that may have access to IV valium and pain medications when our pharmacies were struggling to obtain enough for him. No one should have to feel more pain, become more sick or even die because of a nation wide drug shortage in our country.

Something needs to change and fast!

In most cases, when a shortage arises we are unable to switch Wyatt to other similar medications due to allergies or the way in which his body reacts to the other available options. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as just stopping one medicine to start another. Sometimes, there is no other option to fall back on.

Our hospice nurse called the infusion pharmacy that supplies Wyatt's IV Fentanyl and talked with the pharmacist yesterday. He counted his stash and gave us the low down of how much we have left, he was hopeful that this could get us through until they receive another shipment. While that information gave us time to breath for a minute, I will be prepared to travel the world in search of IV Fentanyl if I should need to. I'm telling you, it's not the time to mess with this Mom and her son's end of life pain control. 

Then I hopped onto Facebook quickly this morning to see this article from the Washingtonian-
http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/people/hot-celebrity-trend-worsens-drug-shortages-that-threaten-babies/

It really irritated me. It's appalling and frightening that our priorities in this country are so far from where they should be. So many babies, children and adults in this country go without vital nutrients week after week, month after month and, in some cases, even a year or more because of drug shortages. These are individuals that have no other choice but to go without, as IV nutrition is their only option to live. Yet there are celebrities, athletes and business executives who are able to obtain these same nutrients to further enhance their beauty, to give themselves a brief energy boost and/or to ease a hangover from over indulging the night before.

It's true.

America, we need to wake up! You can see there is a problem here, right? Open your eyes, please! 

Hospitals, intensive care units, hospice companies, infusion pharmacies....they are all suffering from multiple drug shortages. Not just essential vitamins and minerals needed for nutrition, but also emergency medicines, antiseizure medicines, diuretics, antiemetics, antibiotics, chemotherapies, opioids...the list is long. Pharmacists across the country are rationing and must decide which patient is in greater need of these drugs. Their small supplies going to the sickest, while the others go without.

It's not right. Not in a country that is viewed as so abundantly rich. Something is very wrong when we have very wealthy celebrities obtaining vital nutrients to beautify themselves or recover from a night of irresponsible drinking, while thousands of individuals who rely on IV nutrition go without, to the point it could be potentially fatal.

For more reading on the topic, this is another article that was written by the Washingtonian in May-
http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/people/children-are-dying/index.php

There was a petition started and circulating on the internet gathering computerized signatures-
https://www.change.org/petitions/senator-tom-harkin-ia-and-representative-fred-upton-mi-compel-fda-to-end-iv-drug-shortages-now

Sign the petition for Wyatt and all the other babies, children and adults living without optimal nutrition, life saving and/or pain relieving medications.

To see the lists of current drug shortages in our country-
http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/DrugShortages/ucm050792.htm
http://www.ashp.org/DrugShortages/Current/


I'm not sure how or when or if the drug shortages will ever cease.
But I do know, first hand, enough is enough.
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1 comment:

  1. It is so sad that our country, the richest like you said, is going through this. SO sad and it makes me wonder...

    Still praying for you all, lots of love to Wyatt. Hope that he is comfortable and pain free.

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