The Majority of ER Doctors Say There’s a Drug Shortage

The Majority of ER Doctors Say There’s a Drug Shortage


Polling data collected earlier this year shows that drug shortages may be widespread in American emergency rooms. According to the data, 91% of emergency physicians report recently experiencing a drug shortage while 44% report that the hospital facilities at which they work are inadequately prepared for a high volume of patients during a disaster situation.

The survey took place from April 30 to May 7, and was completed by 24/7 emergency medicine doctors from around the country. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) released the results in late May. To read a full version of the report, please click here.

In a word, the results are alarming. Along with the staggering 91% of physicians reporting drug shortages, 36% of respondents also said that those drug shortages have negatively affected patient outcomes and responses. 97% said that their emergency department had been forced to use alternatives to medicine at one point or another in the face of a drug shortage.

The survey’s results also tell a harrowing tale of emergency un-preparedness among US emergency rooms and hospitals. 27% of respondents said their facility was “not completely” prepared for a major disaster that would bring in a surge of patients, while 17% said their facility was “not at all” ready. The ACEP hopes that by highlighting the gaps in emergency room disaster preparedness, they can promote real, legal change via Congress when it comes to regional approaches to resources.

Of course, drug shortages are not a new phenomenon in American emergency rooms. In fact, a fact sheet published a few years ago by the ACEP suggests drug shortages have been impacting emergency care for at least a decade and have been on a steady rise, increasing as much as 435 percent between 2008 and 2014. Naturally, these statistics might worry people who will likely find themselves needing treatment or medication in an emergency room someday. To forego the emergency room wait lines and potential drug shortages, consider a home visit instead. For more information or to set up an appointment, please give Doctor Housecalls of Paradise Valley a call at 480-948-0102, or visit our website.

Dr. Steven Lipsky

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