The Pathology Department is accustomed to dealing with astounding volume. Yet when COVID-19 testing became a crucial aspect of care during the pandemic, the department’s microbiology lab saw the pace quickening and called in reinforcements.
The MGH has activated its Hospital Incident Command System to respond to an impending heparin shortage expected to impact hospitals – including the MGH – across the globe.
Heparin is an anticoagulant used to decrease clotting of the blood in patients being treated for blood vessel, heart and lung conditions. It also is used to prevent clotting during heart surgeries, dialysis and blood transfusions. The shortage is due to an outbreak of African swine fever in China, which has reduced China’s pig population by an estimated 40 percent – with 60 percent supplied to the United States. Heparin is derived from pigs and about 80 percent of crude heparin is produced in China.
“We have been monitoring this situation for several weeks,” says Paul Biddinger, MD, director of the Center for Disaster Medicine. “We anticipate that our supply of all heparin-related products will continue to dwindle in the immediate future. Hospital leaders currently are in the process of reviewing all conservation strategies and possible alternative treatments, while also working with manufacturing companies to examine the full extent of shipping delays and cancellations. Because this is a global shortage, we are not sure how long it will last, but we are actively doing all we can to address the situation.”
- May | 28 | 2020
In typical times, pink-jacketed volunteers can be seen throughout Massachusetts General Hospital. In mid-March, with the hospital preparing for a wave of COVID-19 patients, all volunteer programs were placed on pause except one: patient discharge and escort.
- May | 22 | 2020
With the school year effectively cut short and the remainder of their running season canceled, athletes from the Wellesley High School could have stayed at home this spring and on the sidelines of the COVID-19 pandemic. But not 18-year-old Jackson O’Toole and his teammates.
- May | 15 | 2020
As part of Mass General's COVID-19 response efforts, 62 Spanish-speaking clinicians—from trainees to full professors across multiple specialties—were recently assembled to assist teams caring for patients with low-English proficiency.
- Mar | 6 | 2020
As a 10-year participant in the Run to Home Base, Marine Corps veteran Michael York is no stranger to putting in the miles to support veterans, service members and their families. This year, York is taking on a new challenge through his participation in the 124th Boston Marathon.
- Mar | 6 | 2020
Research at the MGH is interwoven throughout more than 30 departments, centers and units and is conducted with the support and guidance of the MGH Research Institute. The Research Roundup is a monthly series highlighting studies, news and events.