Following respirators and personal protective equipment, dialysis supplies are running short due to the coronavirus

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This is starting to look a lot like the respirator shortage did a month ago. Over the weekend, a new emergency came into focus — the shortage of dialysis care for COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 patients in intensive care units are suffering from a high rate of kidney failure. Doctors are trying to handle the unanticipated surge but the hospitals don’t have enough staff, equipment or machines to meet the need. The New York Times reported:

Kidney specialists now estimate that 20% to 40% of patients in intensive care suffered kidney failure and needed emergency dialysis. Outside of New York, the growing demand for kidney treatments is becoming a major burden on hospitals in emerging hot spots like Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and Detroit.

Baxter, a medical products company and one of the biggest suppliers of dialysis materials, said it is running plants at full capacity and has seen demand increase fivefold because of COVID-19 care.

Politico said its reporters got their hands on documents that show the Federal Emergency Management Agency is considering declaring the dialysis shortage an emergency so it could import more dialysis supplies. In the meantime, a group of hospitals in New York City has begun directly calling manufacturers to try to get the supplies they need — the same situation that unfolded with the shortage of protective gear and respirators.

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