These Moments: Medicine

7 December 2016

Long Story Short:

  • Domestic oil and natural gas are integral to modern medicine—from powering large hospitals to forming the building blocks of life-saving medical technologies.
  • Hospitals need reliable energy around the clock to keep their machines running. For this reason, many large U.S. hospitals generate their own emergency backup electricity from diesel fuel.
  • Fossil fuels support vital hospital operations, such as powering neonatal intensive care units. The power needed to keep a premature baby’s incubator running is literally life or death. Advances in medical technology made possible by reliable energy have increased U.S. infant survival rates by 78% since 1960.
  • Domestic oil and natural gas are used for much more than electricity. These energy sources are also used in medicines, including aspirin, and in medical technologies, including prosthetic limbs.
  • Plastic, which comes from natural gas, is used to make numerous medical products: pacemakers, stents, syringes, heart valves, prosthetics, artificial corneas, hearing aids, pill capsules and many more.

When our children fall ill, one overwhelming impulse takes over: we want answers, and we want to make it all better. When a child’s health is on the line, modern medicine provides a wide array of tools and solutions.

Doctors, nurses, and parents perform the hard work of keeping our children safe and healthy, but seeing kids through to a healthy adulthood requires more than effort. It requires energy—the kind of abundant, affordable energy that is powered by domestic oil and natural gas. It’s easy to take this accessible, reliable energy for granted, but our health system would look very different without it.

Here are some ways domestic oil and natural gas are integral to modern medicine—from powering hospitals to creating life-saving medical technologies.

Electricity and Emergency Backup Power

Fossil fuels—natural gas, oil, and coal—supply the vast majority of America’s electricity. But on those rare occasions when the lights go out, hospitals need a backup plan.

To keep the power running in case of emergency, many large hospitals in the U.S. generate their own back-up electricity, most commonly using diesel fuel. That electricity runs refrigerators that store the lab samples, vaccines, and medicines that doctors use to save lives. These domestic fuels also power advanced diagnostic technology that informs doctors how to treat each patient effectively.

Medical advances made possible by reliable energy have increased life expectancy in the U.S. by 13% since 1960. Every day, groundbreaking medical research and technological innovation produce breakthroughs that will enable our kids to live better and longer than any generation before them.

Neonatal Intensive Care Units

One of the vital hospital operations that depends on reliable energy is neonatal intensive care units. The power needed to keep a premature baby’s incubator running is literally life or death.

Thankfully, the progress we’ve already made is astonishing. Today, doctors and nurses in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) use innovative technologies that help 90 percent of infants born 13 weeks early to survive—an unthinkable feat only a century ago. Overall, advances in medical technology made possible by reliable energy have increased U.S. infant survival rates by 78% since 1960.

While we’ve come a long way, there is still more work to be done—after all, what wouldn’t we do for our kids?

Medical Products and Technology

Domestic oil and natural gas are used for much more than electricity. These energy sources are also used in medicines, including aspirin, and in medical technologies, including prosthetic limbs.

Plastic, which comes from natural gas, is used to make numerous medical products, including but not limited to:

  • Pacemakers
  • Prosthetics
  • Heart valves
  • Artificial corneas
  • Hearing aids,
  • Syringes
  • Stents
  • Pill capsules

Oil and natural gas are, and will always be, vital energy sources. Every day they are helping to give our children a brighter, healthier future.