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Two young children in Tennessee, who have special nutritional needs, have been hospitalized after they were unable to gain access to the baby formula they require amid the supply shortage in America.
The children – a preschooler and a toddler – were admitted to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, in April and last week, respectively, a rep for the hospital confirmed to Fox News Digital.
“These are young children who have health conditions and special medical needs that have specific dietary requirements,” their physician, Dr. Mark Corkins, division chief of pediatric gastroenterology at Le Bonheur Children’s, told Fox News Digital in a statement.
“Their bodies did not adapt well to the new formula type and they required treatment via IV fluids and supplemental nutrition,” Corkins, who is also a professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, added.
Doctors were able to find a new solution for the toddler, who was admitted to the hospital last week and was discharged Tuesday, the rep confirmed.
The preschooler, who was admitted in April, is in stable condition. However, doctors are still trying to find a solution for the child’s nutritional needs.
In a phone call on Wednesday with Fox News Digital, Corkins commented on the baby formula shortage.
“This is the worst ever in my career that I’ve ever seen,” Corkins told Fox News Digital. “This is like a pull your hair out, scream at the ceiling crisis.”
“For me, as a medical specialist, a pediatric gastroenterologist, there’s the metabolic formulas and the amino acid-based formulas that we use for kids with specific diseases that literally, this is like a medicine for them. And we don’t have any alternatives,” he added.
Corkins said that generally speaking, switching formula brands is not a problem – unless the child has special medical or dietary needs.
“This is like a pull your hair out, scream at the ceiling crisis.”
For those special cases, Corkins said parents absolutely must consult with their doctors to find the right solution for their children before trying anything on their own.
Though the situation is dire, Corkins said that the recent agreement between Abbott Nutrition and the FDA to allow Abbott to reopen its baby formula plant shows a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
“Eventually this crisis will come to an end,” Corkins said. “It’s just a matter of getting there.”
Corkins said the multidisciplinary team of pediatric experts at Le Bonheur Children’s and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center are working carefully to make “multiple substitutions throughout a child’s care to ensure that their nutritional needs are met” – a process which can be difficult for parents to handle alone, he explained.
“Parents should contact their pediatricians if they have questions about formula options,” Corkins added.
For weeks, families across the country have been struggling to find baby formula for children. As a result, many have been searching online to learn if it’s safe to switch their children to another formula when the brand they normally serve is missing from store shelves, Fox News Digital previously reported.
The United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) says “switching brands or types of formula to one that is more available” is a safe and potentially helpful option that parents can take as they try to navigate the national formula shortage.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also wrote “it is OK to switch to any available formula, including store brands, unless your baby is on a specific extensively hydrolyzed or amino acid-based formula such as Elecare (no store brand exists),” in a recent baby formula shortage guide.
Fox News Digital’s Cortney Moore contributed to this report.