This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the spherical particles of the new coronavirus, colorized blue, from the first U.S. case of COVID-19. The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians is calling on its doctors to protect the limited supply of certain sedatives and pain killers needed to ventilate patients. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah A. Bullock, Azaibi Tamin/CDC via AP

Emergency doctors urged to avoid drugs used to ventilate COVID-19 patients

The association warned Canada’s shortage could become critical in weeks

Emergency doctors have been warned to try to avoid using the limited supply of medications needed for patients on ventilators, as they could be critical in the fight against COVID-19.

Putting a patient on an artificial breathing machine, as happens with people severely sick with COVID-19, usually requires a sedative such as propofol, and painkillers such as fentanyl and morphine.

The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians wrote a statement to members, warning them of potential shortages of those drugs and their responsibility for conserving them.

“These medications are increasingly used in the emergency department, in addition to their traditional use in the OR and ICU,” the association wrote. “As such, emergency physicians have some agency with respect to their use and increasing responsibility for their stewardship.”

Propofol and morphine shortages have already been reported to Health Canada by some manufacturers in the last week.

The association warned Canada’s shortage could become critical in weeks.

“This would have significant clinical impact and therefore requires immediate investigation and action,” the association wrote in a statement.

There are fears a shortage of the drugs could aggravate a dreaded scenario in which ICUs are flooded with critical COVID-19 patients.

Emergency doctors have been warned to try to safeguard the limited supply by looking for alternative medications and reducing waste.

The group has called on federal and provincial governments to review the existing stock and keep doctors informed.

They also suggest the government needs to manage the national supply of those vital drugs, and create incentives for domestic production to avoid shortages.

Countries around the world have grappled with drug shortages, as the virus has wrought havoc on manufacturing plants and distribution.

The Public Health Agency of Canada and Procurement Canada are working to secure a steady supply of essential medications, needed for daily use as well as the treatment of COVID-19, the prime minister said Wednesday.

“We have very strong relationships around the world on getting medication and necessary supplies,” Justin Trudeau said.

He said the government is doing everything it can to make sure hospitals and patients have what they need.

READ MORE: Scheer, Conservatives raise concerns about WHO data, relationship with China

READ MORE: COVID-19 deaths in Canada top 1,000, even as health officials say new cases are slowing

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusDoctors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Solidarity movement displayed in city

Prince Rupert locals demonstrated against

Canada Day investigation by RCMP

Female was transported to hospital with head injuries in Prince Rupert

Local restaurant, Fukasaku, awarded $10,000 grant

More than 1100 Canadian business applied for the relief grant

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

AGM takes centre stage

Lester Centre presented annual reports on June 24

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Community infrastructure funding announced for 24 Northern B.C. projects

Recipients include municipalities, First Nations and not-for-profits

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

Most Read