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Shortage of intubation drugs threatens Brazil health sector as COVID-19 cases rise

Reports are emerging of Brazilian health workers forced to intubate patients without the aid of sedatives, after weeks of warnings that hospitals and state governments risked running out of critical medicines.

April 16, 2021 / 02:37 PM IST
Reports are emerging of Brazilian health workers forced to intubate patients without the aid of sedatives, after weeks of warnings that hospitals and state governments risked running out of critical medicines. One doctor at the Albert Schweitzer municipal hospital in Rio de Janeiro told the Associated Press that for days health workers diluted sedatives to make their stock last longer. Once it ran out, nurses and doctors had to begin using neuromuscular blockers and tying patients to their beds, the doctor said. (Image: AP)
Reports are emerging of Brazilian health workers forced to intubate patients without the aid of sedatives, after weeks of warnings that hospitals and state governments risked running out of critical medicines. One doctor at the Albert Schweitzer municipal hospital in Rio de Janeiro told the Associated Press that for days health workers diluted sedatives to make their stock last longer. Once it ran out, nurses and doctors had to begin using neuromuscular blockers and tying patients to their beds, the doctor said. (Image: AP)
Lack of required medicines is the latest pandemic problem to befall Brazil, which is experiencing a brutal COVID-19 outbreak that has flooded the nation’s intensive care units. The daily death count is averaging about 3,000, accounting for a quarter of deaths globally and making Brazil the epicenter of the pandemic. (Image: AP)
Lack of required medicines is the latest pandemic problem to befall Brazil, which is experiencing a brutal COVID-19 outbreak that has flooded the nation’s intensive care units. The daily death count is averaging about 3,000, accounting for a quarter of deaths globally and making Brazil the epicenter of the pandemic. (Image: AP)
Lack of required medicines is the latest pandemic problem to befall Brazil, which is experiencing a brutal COVID-19 outbreak that has flooded the nation’s intensive care units. The daily death count is averaging about 3,000, accounting for a quarter of deaths globally and making Brazil the epicenter of the pandemic. (Image: AP)
Lack of required medicines is the latest pandemic problem to befall Brazil, which is experiencing a brutal COVID-19 outbreak that has flooded the nation’s intensive care units. The daily death count is averaging about 3,000, accounting for a quarter of deaths globally and making Brazil the epicenter of the pandemic. (Image: AP)
The newspaper O Globo on April 15 reported similar ordeals in several other hospitals in the Rio metropolitan region, with people desperately calling other facilities seeking sedatives for their loved ones. It’s unclear whether the problem seen in Rio remains an isolated case, but others are sounding the alarm about impending shortages. Sao Paulo state's health secretary, Jean Carlo Gorinchteyn, said at a news conference on April 14 that the situation was dire in the hospitals of Brazil's most-populous state. On April 15, more than 640 hospitals were on the verge of collapse, with shortages possible within days, officials said. (Image: AP)
The newspaper O Globo on April 15 reported similar ordeals in several other hospitals in the Rio metropolitan region, with people desperately calling other facilities seeking sedatives for their loved ones. It’s unclear whether the problem seen in Rio remains an isolated case, but others are sounding the alarm about impending shortages. Sao Paulo state's health secretary, Jean Carlo Gorinchteyn, said at a news conference on April 14 that the situation was dire in the hospitals of Brazil's most-populous state. On April 15, more than 640 hospitals were on the verge of collapse, with shortages possible within days, officials said. (Image: AP)
The newspaper O Globo on April 15 reported similar ordeals in several other hospitals in the Rio metropolitan region, with people desperately calling other facilities seeking sedatives for their loved ones. It’s unclear whether the problem seen in Rio remains an isolated case, but others are sounding the alarm about impending shortages. Sao Paulo state's health secretary, Jean Carlo Gorinchteyn, said at a news conference on April 14 that the situation was dire in the hospitals of Brazil's most-populous state. On April 15, more than 640 hospitals were on the verge of collapse, with shortages possible within days, officials said. (Image: AP)
The newspaper O Globo on April 15 reported similar ordeals in several other hospitals in the Rio metropolitan region, with people desperately calling other facilities seeking sedatives for their loved ones. It’s unclear whether the problem seen in Rio remains an isolated case, but others are sounding the alarm about impending shortages. Sao Paulo state's health secretary, Jean Carlo Gorinchteyn, said at a news conference on April 14 that the situation was dire in the hospitals of Brazil's most-populous state. On April 15, more than 640 hospitals were on the verge of collapse, with shortages possible within days, officials said. (Image: AP)
For many weeks, the ministry has also been facing logistical constraints on getting oxygen delivered to hospitals across the country. Queiroga said it remains "a daily concern.″ A more contagious coronavirus variant, known as P.1, has been spreading across Brazil this year. It may also be more aggressive than the original strain, and health workers have reported patients requiring far more oxygen than last year. (Image: AP)
For many weeks, the ministry has also been facing logistical constraints on getting oxygen delivered to hospitals across the country. Queiroga said it remains "a daily concern.″ A more contagious coronavirus variant, known as P.1, has been spreading across Brazil this year. It may also be more aggressive than the original strain, and health workers have reported patients requiring far more oxygen than last year. (Image: AP)
The private sector has stepped up to help address some of the supply shortfall. A group of seven large companies donated 3.4 million doses of intubation drugs — enough for the management of 500 beds for six weeks — to the Health Ministry. (Image: AP)
The private sector has stepped up to help address some of the supply shortfall. A group of seven large companies donated 3.4 million doses of intubation drugs — enough for the management of 500 beds for six weeks — to the Health Ministry. (Image: AP)
The private sector has stepped up to help address some of the supply shortfall. A group of seven large companies donated 3.4 million doses of intubation drugs — enough for the management of 500 beds for six weeks — to the Health Ministry. (Image: AP)
The private sector has stepped up to help address some of the supply shortfall. A group of seven large companies donated 3.4 million doses of intubation drugs — enough for the management of 500 beds for six weeks — to the Health Ministry. (Image: AP)
The private sector has stepped up to help address some of the supply shortfall. A group of seven large companies donated 3.4 million doses of intubation drugs — enough for the management of 500 beds for six weeks — to the Health Ministry. (Image: AP)
The private sector has stepped up to help address some of the supply shortfall. A group of seven large companies donated 3.4 million doses of intubation drugs — enough for the management of 500 beds for six weeks — to the Health Ministry. (Image: AP)
Shortages aren’t limited to the public sector. Brazil’s private hospital association published a survey Thursday in which nine of 71 institutions reported having supplies for five days or less. About half said they had enough for a week. Private facilities are looking to import medications from India, but still need regulatory approval, the association told AP. The city of Itaiopolis in southern Santa Catarina state this week reported shortages of both sedatives and oxygen. Neighboring Rio Grande do Sul state also reported supplies running out. (Image: AP)
Shortages aren’t limited to the public sector. Brazil’s private hospital association published a survey on April 15 in which nine of 71 institutions reported having supplies for five days or less. About half said they had enough for a week. Private facilities are looking to import medications from India, but still need regulatory approval, the association told AP. The city of Itaiopolis in southern Santa Catarina state this week reported shortages of both sedatives and oxygen. Neighboring Rio Grande do Sul state also reported supplies running out. (Image: AP)
Associated Press
first published: Apr 16, 2021 02:37 pm

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