Area hospitals monitoring epidural catheter shortage

Patients in Wellington, Waterloo not yet impacted by worldwide shortage: officials

WELLINGTON COUNTY – A worldwide shortage of epidural catheters is not impacting patients in Wellington and Waterloo – at least not yet.

“Waterloo Wellington hospitals have supply in stock and are working together to conserve and share resources as part of managing this supply issue,” states a July 28 press release from an alliance of regional hospitals.

“Ontario Health has also recognized a potential shortage and is watching provincial stock closely.”

The release notes that the following hospitals are aware of the worldwide shortage of epidural catheters – used mostly in childbirth but also for lower extremity surgeries – but are not yet impacted by it:

  • Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Centre Wellington;
  • Grand River Hospital in Kitchener;
  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital; and
  • Guelph General Hospital.

Officials say the hospitals are “planning to outline how epidural catheters will be managed should it become an ongoing supply issue.

“The plan involves conserving supplies for high priority patients and working with patients to offer alternate options for pain management.”

The release adds the hospitals are “committed to ensuring that all patients have access to pain management support should they need it during childbirth or while undergoing a lower extremity surgery.”

Anyone with questions or concerns can speak to their health care provider(s) or visit hospital websites for updates.