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

Just Posted

No architect for Langford building ruled ‘unreasonable’ by B.C. Supreme Court

Legal action brought against City in 2019 for permit issued on Hoffman Avenue building

Colwood drive-thru window smashed after suspect receives burger without mustard

Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Pauquachin First Nation calls on North Saanich to help restore shellfish in Coles Bay

The nation identifies ‘residential onsite septic systems’ as one of sources of contamination

Pool deck turns patio as Saanich restaurant cooks up creative outdoor seating options

District supports local businesses such as The Lakes Restaurant in creating seating

Victoria police searching for suspect after baseball bat assault

Man assaulted in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Most Read