New parents have to put a lot of faith in others to provide for their children. Families have to trust the medical workers assisting in labor and delivery. They also have to rely on businesses that produce products for infants and young children.
Mothers who plan to go back to work after their recovery will require formula to feed their children. The same is true of mothers who are unable to provide breast milk because of a medical condition or whose breast milk is not safe for their child’s consumption. New parents have struggled in recent months because of a widespread formula recall that has led to a shortage.
Our firm has been on the forefront of advocating for those affected by this recall.
What happened to the baby formula that caused a recall?
Roughly 20% of all of the infant formula produced in the United States comes from a large facility in Sturgis, Michigan, including several kinds of specialty formula for babies with specific nutritional needs.
After decades of operations, that facility recently had major contamination issues. Inspectors working for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found records indicating the facility had issues with Chronobacter sakazakii bacteria. This inspection coincided with reports of infants hospitalized due to an infection caused by the strain of bacteria. The situation involves massive failures of company oversight, mandatory reporting and regulation.
Several months later, there were two fatalities and multiple infants hospitalized. One of the most tragic reports comes out of Texas, where a mother has started fighting back. Jane Hernandez has spoken publicly about the effect of the infection on her son while still acting to protect his privacy.
She started him on formula, which she assumed would be safe. However, he was terrifyingly ill within a week of his birth. He developed meningitis, encephalitis and inflammation in his kidneys. The hospital has informed the family that he has brain damage on the right hemisphere, but they do not know yet what the impact will be. The 8-month-old boy may have a long recovery ahead of him.
His mother has since filed a lawsuit against the company that produced the formula, and other parents may eventually join that lawsuit. They may receive compensation for the medical costs their family occurred and other losses directly related to the unsafe formula that their babies received. You can listen to facts surrounding her story and others who have been impacted by contaminated baby formula through this podcast or read the article from Bloomberg highlighting the details of this tragic recall and the impact it’s had on infants and their families.
Consumer goods aimed at infants should meet high safety standards
Parents shouldn’t have to fear that basic products intended to promote the health and well-being of their children will endanger their lives. Families also shouldn’t have to absorb the costs of medical consequences following a product-related illness or injury.
Those affected by this tragic formula contamination circumstance may be in a position to follow Jane Hernandez’s lead. Her decision to speak out may raise awareness and prompt more people to hold companies accountable for putting profits ahead of consumer safety. Our firm has filed a lawsuit on her behalf and will continue advocating for her and others affected by this tragic situation.
Identifying who is actually to blame for a tragic family situation will make it easier for you to pursue justice in the civil courts, such as when contaminated infant formula affects the health of your newest and most vulnerable family member.