Critical Drug Shortages, In Memoriam

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APRIL 02, 2020 — Here are the coronavirus stories Medscape’s editors around the globe think you need to know about today.

Drug Shortages On the Front Line

In addition to shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, hospitals are also facing a shortage of ventilator-associated drugs. Usually, hospitals could fill 95% of orders for such drugs. In the last month, that rate has dropped to 60% or 70%, and it continues to decrease by about 3% daily, an industry expert says. Meanwhile, demand is skyrocketing.

Physicians “Sent Into War With Pool Noodles”

Everything in the intensive care unit is different with COVID-19, says Stanford University ICU doctor Angela Rogers, MD, MPH, on a Medscape podcast. Families can’t stay with loved ones in the hospital. Physicians are learning on the fly, texting friends at other institutions to compare notes. And adequate PPE is a constant concern. She recalled an online thread where someone wrote, “It feels like we’re being sent into a war with pool noodles.”

NYU Med Student: “Time to Step Up”

Gabriel Redel-Traub is a fourth-year medical student at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. Last week, he received an email asking him to graduate early and join NYU’s staff in treating COVID-19 patients. In a first-person account for Medscape, he describes his complicated emotions as he considered, and finally accepted, the call. 

“I’m scared of winding up paralyzed and intubated,” he writes. “But I have also realized that all we have is each other…This is my time to be there for others, unwaveringly.”

San Diego Doctor Leading the Charge

Nick Yphantides, MD, chief medical officer of San Diego County in California, lost his father in the 2009 pandemic of H1N1 swine flu. His memory of his father is one of the factors that drives him in leading the COVID-19 response for the 3.3 million residents of San Diego county. 

“I see this as the Super Bowl of public health,” he said.

Free Therapy for Front-Line Workers

Thousands of licensed psychologists, psychotherapists, and social workers have signed up to offer free therapy sessions to healthcare professionals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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