(The Hill) — Two children were hospitalized in Tennessee this month due to the nationwide baby formula shortage, according to a Memphis hospital.
The children, both of whom had “specific dietary requirements,” were hospitalized in mid-May at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, said Mark Corkins, division chief of pediatric gastroenterology at Le Bonheur and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
“These are young children who have health conditions and special medical needs that have specific dietary requirements,” Corkins said in a statement obtained by The Hill. “Their bodies did not adapt well to the new formula type and they required treatment via IV fluids and supplemental nutrition.”
Corkins added that pediatric experts at the hospital were “making multiple substitutions throughout a child’s care to ensure that their nutritional needs are met.”
“This can be a complicated and cumbersome process and is extremely difficult for parents to navigate on their own,” he said, noting that parents should contact their child’s pediatrician in the event they have formula-related questions.
The hospitalizations come as U.S. parents have, for weeks, struggled to find baby formula products for their children. The shortage has been worsened by supply chain issues coupled with a massive recall from Abbott Nutrition, one of the top formula manufacturers.
Earlier this week, Abbott announced that it had reached a deal with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reopen the company’s Michigan factory, which was shuttered in the wake of the recall.
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But even after that deal is approved, it will still take approximately six to eight weeks for the company to resume production fully and get baby formula back on the shelves.