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

LETTER: Board defends tough decisions ahead for arts centre

Lack of income puts The ACT imperil – changes are mandatory to survive, says president

LETTER: MAID is a reassuring option for Maple Ridge man

Letter writer takes exception with a local woman’s views about revoked funding for Delta Hospice

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe B.C. over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Robert Vroom, died as result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

Heavy police presence at Maple Ridge traffic accident

Multiple police seen running into house

UPDATE: Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreak over at Maple Ridge seniors residence

All remaining residents and staff have been cleared of the virus at Chartwell’s Willow Retirement Residence

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment in schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read