Coronavirus
covid patient There is a shortage of painkillers in 12 states.

Healthcare workers warn of shortage of sedatives for intubated Covid patients

Health minister blames increased global demand

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Healthcare workers in at least 12 states have reported a shortage of the sedatives they require to intubate critically ill coronavirus patients.

Medical personnel in Aguascalientes, Sinaloa, Baja California, Durango, Nuevo León, México state, Mexico City, San Luis Potosí, Chihuahua, Campeche, Colima and Chiapas face shortages, according to a report by the newspaper Reforma.

Doctors and nurses in those states say that the situation worsened two weeks ago.

“There are no medications for sedation; there is no propofol, midazolam, vecuronium or rocuronium to intubate patients,” said a doctor who works at a Mexican Social Security Institute hospital in the Mexico City borough of Álvaro Obregón.

Health workers communicate on the messaging service WhatsApp to try to identify hospitals from which they can source the medications they need, Reforma said.

Another doctor said that the situation defies all logic.

“We don’t have medications, the staff are exhausted and unfortunately we are now letting people die due to a lack of resources,” he said. “For example, there are no medications to intubate patients, … no sedatives or painkillers. There simply aren’t any!”

The doctor said that one woman died a few days ago because there were no medications to take her off a ventilator. He also said that medical personnel are not allowed to ask patients’ family members to seek out medications.

Health Minister Jorge Alcocer acknowledged that there is a shortage of sedatives due to increased global demand for the drugs brought about by the pandemic. However, he said that health authorities have found suppliers abroad and in Mexico City and that more sedatives will be made available in the coming days.

Hospitals across numerous states are under increased pressure due to a recent increase in coronavirus case numbers and hospitalizations.

Data presented by the federal Health Ministry at its Tuesday night coronavirus press briefing showed that there are 15,201 coronavirus patients currently in hospital. The national hospital occupancy rate is 39% but the rates in some states are considerably higher.

More than 76% of beds set aside for coronavirus patients in Mexico City are currently in use, according to federal data, while hospitals in four states – México state, Guanajuato, Baja California and Durango – have occupancy rates above 60%.

The Health Ministry reported 11,006 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, pushing Mexico’s accumulated tally to 1,193,255.

More than 11,000 new cases have been reported on five of the past seven days, including new single-day record of 12,127 cases last Friday.

The official Covid-19 death toll stands at 110,874 with 800 additional fatalities registered on Tuesday.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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