Thunder Bay

Hurricane Maria still impacts availability of some medical supplies

The impact of Hurricane Maria is still felt across Canada, as a major medical supplier continues to have issues delivering its products to Canadian hospitals.

Infrastructure in Puerto Rico effecting delivery of medical supplies to Canadian hospitals

The impact of Hurricane Maria is still felt across Canada, as a major medical supplier continues to have issues delivering its products to Canadian hospitals.

Baxter Corporation is one of the major medical suppliers in the country for supplies such as IV lines. The company said its factories in Puerto Rico were damaged when Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, but infrastructure on the island continues to delay the shipping of medical supplies to Canada.

The issue has created a challenge for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, which included taking close stock of the hospital's supplies, and weekly calls with suppliers.

"Nurses would know if they went to get something and they go, oh, usually that's all stocked up and it's not there," said Cathy Covino, the hospital's senior director of quality and risk management.

Covino said while the hospital did not run out of any specific supplies, plans were in place for alternative procedures, if materials ran short.

"For example, there's a little extension tube that when you start an intravenous you add an extension tube to it, and then at the end of that you add the IV tubing. There was a chance that we would have run out of that extension tube."

Covino said Baxter has told the hospital it is projecting to have its supply chain operating at full capacity through December, while she expects it might take until early in the new year.

"We're meeting weekly and when we couldn't get things through Baxter, they found another person who would supply us."

Covino said the company does move items around, to help ensure hospitals maintain healthy supply levels.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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