Politics and Puerto Rico

Blumenthal, Murphy Fight For Puerto Rico

An Island That's in Despair

Nearly half of the residents of Puerto Rico are still without power, more than three months after the hurricane, according to data recently released by its government.

The shortage was at its worst before the holidays.

"In the world of healthcare we have gotten really good at managing tremendous volatility in the availability of product", Thompson said. "There are still a couple of items that are day to day", Couldry said.

The FDA Commissioner recently sent out an update to the problem. But intermittent power outages are still slowing Baxter's efforts to get back to full production.

Read the full statement here.

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The most effective thing we did was coordinate with the other Mercy hospitals to share our resources. "We still have to keep an eye on it and work very closely with our suppliers". More on that in a moment.

As for the IV fluid shortage, larger hospitals have weathered the storm better than some smaller hospitals and clinics. According to Benjamin, St. Mary's is monitoring their supplies but says they are confident shortages will not impact their patients.

Increased demand, as is usually the case, increases prices.

"Everything is hard to get because people are getting whatever they can", said Deborah Sadowski, director of pharmacy services at Deborah Heart and Lung Center, a specialized hospital in southern New Jersey.

Puerto Ricans are United States citizens, uncontrolled by immigration law and permitted to move wherever they want within the country.

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Several noted a cascade effect, with new shortages created as hospitals all try the same workarounds.

Another example is sterile water.

"It's a matter of economics". "This product is of critical need for patients, including children and infants, who are not able to eat and need to receive their nutrition intravenously", he said.

This has been a serious concern for all health care providers.

Basically, Couldry suggests manufacturers don't make enough money - or aren't interested in - doing business in low-cost products that are only sold to hospitals, clinics and doctor's offices.

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Officials say those districts are educating 85 percent of the more than 2,100 students from Puerto Rico who have enrolled in public schools in MA since the hurricane.

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