Drug shortages across the nation are affecting how hospitals and clinics administer medication, putting patients at risk. People in two states fell ill after receiving injections from drug vials that were used on multiple patients even though they were designed for use on only one.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven people in Delaware and four people in Arizona contracted staph infections after health workers misused single-dose drug vials. The CDC's report says that healthcare workers diluted single-dose packages of certain drugs so they could treat more patients with their limited supplies. However, single-use drug vials do not contain preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria and subsequent spread of infections between patients.
There have been 20 similar outbreaks since 2007. The CDC recommends that hospitals and clinics experiencing drug shortages split doses safely in pharmacies, not where patients receive treatment.