A new problem is affecting hospitals nationwide and here in Central Georgia.

The Coliseum Medical Center and the Medical Center Navicent Health says they're experiencing a shortage of IV bags.

Jennifer Jones at the Coliseum Medical Center says, "Yes, we're being impacted by the IV shortage, but it's not to the point that it is negatively impacting patient care."

You would think that the flu outbreak might have caused this shortage of supplies, but officials at Navicent Health say the issue started months ago.

"We've had a tremendous shortage in the bags that we used to deliver the medication in the IV fluids, and this has been going on for quite a while now," says Chris Hendry, the Chief Operating Officer at Navicent Health.

Hendry says the hospital is experiencing a shortage much like other hospitals across the nation.

"There's really only two places pretty much in the United States where these are produced," says Hendry. "One is on the mainland and the other is in Puerto Rico, and so the factory has not been able to operate at full capacity ever since the hurricanes."

IV bags play a major role. They're used during some surgical procedures and also to hydrate patients at the hospital, but since the hurricane, Hendry says distributors have not been able to meet the hospital's demand.

"We've gotten down to the point where we've had maybe two or three days of IV fluid left before the next shipment arrived, so it's come close to being critical shortage and not having enough," says Hendry.

They've used other methods to deal with the shortage, but Hendry's concerned about what's to come.

"There could become a time, however, when the supply is completely used up. We are hoping that the industry will be able to put enough fixes into place to prevent that from happening," says Hendry.

Hendry says that due to a merger of pharmaceutical companies, they've seen a shortage of narcotics like morphine and Hyperal.

Navicent Health reached its full capacity, and this week, they started a diversion plan to help other people find other hospital beds and emergency rooms for people who need it.