Vital Medications in Short Supply in South Carolina and Across U.S

March 27, 2016

In a recent article by The New York Times, it has finally become public knowledge that hospitals across the country are in serious short supply of drugs necessary to treat leukemia, fight infections, drugs, such as anesthetics, that are vital to operations, and vitamins for cancer patients. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists has declared that the U.S. has an insufficient  supply of more than 150 drugs. But how can it be that the most wealthy country in the world is experiencing such a dangerously low supply of medication? The answer lies in a lack of manufacturing. Due to pharmaceutical companies making fewer or discontinuing their production of low-profit drugs, in combination with more safety crackdowns by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, vital drugs are no longer available for hundreds of thousands of patients. The scary part is that they most likely do not even know it. In the event that you suffered an injury or illness from an unsafe medical product or through medical malpractice by not receiving a vital medication, contact a South Carolina medical malpractice or personal injury attorney at once.

Deciding Who Gets Medication During Times of Rationing

Many hospitals are treating the drug shortage like military rationing: those who have the highest chance of survival and who require the least amount of the drug to live have priority. What many people are unaware of, is that they are unknowingly having these decisions made without their knowledge. As an example, aminocaproic acid has been used for decades to prevent hemorrhaging in patients during open-heart surgery. It used to be given to every patient, as it never caused any negative effects, only positives. However, due to the shortage, it is being rationed and patients who would normally receive it, may or may not; they will never know either. In other circumstances, patients are aware that they are missing out on specific medications. South Carolina hospitals and medical centers across the U.S. have set up panels of ethicists, physicians, pharmacists, and the heads of the major drug companies that have decreased their production to decides, in some cases, who lives and who dies. When it comes to cancer medication, the age and size of the patient is taken into consideration. A younger patient, such as a child, has more years to live during remission than an older patient. A child needs less of the specific medication. In terms of intravenous vitamins, minerals, and fats, an adult has more of a surplus to begin with than a child does. All of these factors are taken into account when drugs have to be rationed.

Wrongful Death, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury Attorney in Columbia, South Carolina

The Journal of Patient Safety reports that 210,000 to 440,000 patients die prematurely because of mistakes made in hospitals and medical centers around the country. Will more people needlessly die or have prolonged injuries and illnesses because of this critical drug shortage? If you have suffered an injury or illness that was not to the standard of care acceptable in your given situation, you may be able to file a medical malpractice suit for compensation, or if a loved one passed away because of a medical mistake, you may file a wrongful death suit. Contact one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys today at the law offices of The Connell Law Firm, LLC.