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Cancer clinic's supply of saline bags running dangerously low

CHEMO SUPPLY.jpg

SAN ANTONIO - A crisis for a clinic here in San Antonio that provides care for cancer patients. The clinic says they are running dangerously low on supplies and drugs for treatment. Doctors say about 18 to 20 patients come to the Oncology San Antonio clinic for treatment per day.

Back in 2011, Andrew Medina was diagnosed with colon cancer.

“Severe stage 4,” said Medina. “I was given three months to live."

The cancer spread to his liver but aggressive weekly chemo treatments have kept him alive.

Patients that come to this clinic are now facing another challenge

“We have to worry about the shortage,” said Medina. “How are we going to get chemo bags? Am I going to get treated when I go to chemo?"

Doctors and nurses at the clinic say there is a shortage of the medication, fluids, and saline bags they use to mix and give treatment.

“We just have a day supply and every day we are wheeling and dealing trying to find something," said Doctor Jayasree Rao, an oncologist.

Dr. Rao says prices online have skyrocketed and regulations do not allow doctors to import supplies from outside the country.

“If my patients are not going to do well I'd rather get it from some other place and give it to them than not give it to them at all," said Rao.

Nurses and staff are making ends meet for now.

Doctors and patients are hoping elected officials can help find answers to the challenge they currently face.

“I don't know what they're going to do, but I hope they do something," said Veronica Gibson, a chemo patient who is battling bone cancer.

There have been similar shortages reported in Seattle, Pittsburgh and Dallas. The FDA says it's responding to the shortage by temporarily allowing saline imports from Australia and Ireland.

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