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Babies hospitalized in metro Atlanta because of formula shortage

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta confirmed Wednesday that “a few” children are hospitalized because the specialty formula they need is unavailable.

ATLANTA — The formula shortage is now sending children to the hospital in metro Atlanta and across the country, including at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Their parents are unable to find life-saving nutrition for the babies any other way.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta emailed 11Alive Wednesday, writing that doctors have “admitted a few patients with complex medical needs who were using specialty formulas, now in limited supply. These children were admitted to find the best new available formula.”

It is the same in at least two other hospitals across the country.

Eleven-week-old Clo was admitted to the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Health because her parents could not find the special formula she needs.

Her mother, Savannah Wheatley, told NBC News how they resorted to pleading on social media for help.

“We had tried everything for her,” Wheatley said, pausing as she wept, “to keep us out of the hospital.”

Clo is one of at least four babies admitted to that hospital because formula is not available.

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis admitted two children, a toddler and an infant, after their parents were unable to find the specialty formula they need.

“This is a crisis for us in health care,” said Dr. Mark Corkins.

Dr. Corkins is treating the children by administering IV fluids and nutrition support until the formula is available.

“We’re now out of the specialty formulas” at the hospital, Dr. Corkins said. “And so, literally, we have what we have, we have some things that we’re trying to find, that we’re trying to use some alternatives, but the standard ones, the ones you would think of, there’s none to be had.”

Doctors continue to try to warn parents about potentially dangerous alternatives.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta posted on Facebook, “Watering down formula to make it last longer can make your baby sick.” And, “Don’t make your own formula... it could make your baby sick... cause major health problems or even death.”

Consumer protection advocates said watch out for scams on the Internet claiming to have formula for sale, then taking your money and sending you nothing.

"This is a serious issue,” said Brooke Koslowski, the mother of an infant whose formula is no longer available. “You don't do that to any parent, especially because some parents cannot breastfeed. I was not able to, with her. I try not to go on social media for finding formula. Have other people check for you, like people that you actually know and talk to. Not just some random stranger that you come across on social media.”

Doctors said parents who have run out should seek help from OBGYNs or pediatricians until formula is back in stock.

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