They're used to diagnose life-threatening illnesses every day. And one Amarillo woman is especially grateful for her medical scan amid a nationwide shortage. A radioisotope injection helps doctors get a good look at Jennifer Stollings's gall bladder. But the substance is in short supply after a recent reactor shutdown in Canada.
"I would hate for other people that were not able to have done what they need to have done.. that would be very unfortunate for them," says Stollings. One local producer of the injection gets his radioisotope ingredients elsewhere.
"Our company has been able to supply Amarillo with no shortages to the point that even the Lubbock hospitals are wanting me to supply them with as much as I can. But I'm of course taking care of Amarillo and then any extra I can do I send to Lubbock," says nuclear pharmacist Brent Morgan.
His pharmacy is now producing an extra twelve to fifteen of these doses a day. The clinic performing Stollings's scan has enough supply for its patients, but is making sure those getting the scans right now are the ones who need them most.
"The higher priority patients... for example maybe having surgery, we're getting those patients done first. So far we haven't had to cancel any patients," says Hudspeth. That's good news for Stollings.
"All of the patients that are suffering need to be able to have quick access to the tests, especially those who are in lots and lots of pain need to know what's going on so they can have immediate relief." Morgan expects the Canadian company to bring its production back online by the end of the year, and Stollings is optimistic.