Hurricane Maria damage temporarily stops IV bag production in Pu - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hurricane Maria damage temporarily stops IV bag production in Puerto Rico

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YAKIMA, WA - The damage Hurricane Maria did to Puerto Rico put a temporary stop to the production of IV bags.

"It was shortly after the hurricane hit that we noticed there was a facility of Baxter in Puerto Rico and that we could probably expect some delays of some regard," said Chris Cook, pharmacy operations manager at Virginia Mason Memorial.

Baxter, one of the country's top manufacturers, has three facilities in Puerto Rico. All of them are temporarily shutting down, causing a shortage of IV bags. This affects thousands of hospitals, including Virginia Mason Memorial in Yakima.

"We're looking for ways to reduce the waste," Cook said. "The pharmacy department specifically looks at ways to either compound or make the products available for patients and it may be in a different format like a bag or a syringe."

Staff at Virginia Mason Memorial were quick to find solutions, but thankfully the shortage is not expected to last much longer.

"Baxter stated the other day that their manufacturing plant is mostly up to par, and they're mostly at the point of producing what they used to," said Cook.

Cook says these kinds of issues are unfortunately natural in this field, and it's up to hospitals to provide solutions for their patients.