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

Township of Langley’s volunteer appreciation event postponed for 2020

Spokesperson said volunteers will be notified and recognized for their efforts individually

Langley house linked to crimes targeted for forfeiture

The province seized part of the home’s sale price

LETTER: Tax increases from other agencies unacceptable

As promised, Langley City reduced its portion of tax bill – what about other levels of government

LETTER: Langley resident calls on public to use distancing

A worker in the long-term care field notes that people can have no symptoms but spread COVID-19

Langley quilters save fundraising raffle after quilt show plans unravel

COVID-19 forced the cancellation of May’s quilt show which was more than a year in the planning

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

IHIT investigating ‘suspicious’ death of Surrey man

Officers found the body while on foot patrol: Surrey RCMP

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Limit gun capacity to five bullets, victims group urges Trudeau government

Current limits are generally five bullets for hunting rifles and shotguns and 10 for handguns.

Most Read