IV bag shortage leads MGH to use Gatorade to hydrate patients

BOSTON (WHDH) — The United States is dealing with an IV bag shortage following the hurricane in Puerto Rico last fall so Massachusetts General Hospital is turning to sports drinks to help keep patients hydrated.

Puerto Rico is a major producer of pharmaceuticals and many of the plants closed when Hurricane Maria struck. Dr. Paul Biddinger at Mass General said 40 percent of Puerto Rico’s IV manufacturing was affected and the hospital is now dealing with a “significant” shortage.

To hydrate patients without an IV, doctors at Mass General are giving them Gatorade. For those patients unable to eat or drink, they are receiving Gatorade through a feeding tube.

“We would never place a feeding tube just to give Gatorade but for those who already have it, that’s an easier way for us to administer hydration,” said Biddinger.

The FDA believes the shortage should ease over the next few months. For now, doctors at Mass General are trying not to use IVs if they do not have to.

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