Sao Paulo hit by shortage of intubation drugs
Public hospitals are critically short on the drugs needed to intubate Covid-19 patients in Sao Paulo, the most populous state in Brazil, officials said Thursday, warning of a potential public health catastrophe.
Sixty-eight percent of public clinics have run out of neuromuscular blockers, which are used to relax a patient's muscles during intubation, and 61 percent are out of sedatives, a report from the state council of municipal health secretaries (Cosems-SP) found.
"The situation regarding supplies of medications for intubation worsened over the past week," it said, amid a deadly new surge of Covid-19 in Brazil.
"We've been sending letters to the (federal) health ministry for the past 40 days warning about this and asking for help," state health minister Jean Gorinchteyn told GNews.
He said a new shipment was due to arrive Thursday, but urged the federal government to allow states to purchase the drugs directly from suppliers.
Covid-19 has claimed more than 3,000 lives per day on average in Brazil over the past week, the most by far worldwide.
The country of 212 million people has a total death toll of more than 360,000, second only to the United States.
Sao Paulo, Brazil's industrial hub, is one of the states hit hardest.
With a population of 45.9 million people, it has registered more than 85,000 deaths from Covid-19.
Two other big states, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, have also had reports of intubation drug shortages.
Local media reported Wednesday that intubated patients in Rio de Janeiro had to be tied to their beds after they awakened when their sedatives ran out.