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The low-tech visual aid can save time with critically ill patients, allowing doctors to focus on caring for them rather than doing research on the fly, said Dr. Jesse Pines, a professor of emergency medicine and director of the Office for Clinical Practice Innovation at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, who has studiedthe problems with shortages.

The need for such workarounds probably won’t end anytime soon. According to a new study, shortages of many drugs that are essential in emergency care have increased in both number and duration in recent years even as shortages for drugs for non-acute or chronic care have eased somewhat. The shortages have persisted despite a federal law enacted in 2012 that gave the Food and Drug Administration regulatory powers to respond to drug shortages, the study found.

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Image: By Linda Bartlett (photographer) – http://visualsonline.cancer.gov/details.cfm?imageid=2098, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23321521

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