AUGUSTA, G.A. (WJBF) – The ongoing baby formula shortage is affecting people right here at home. NewsChannel 6 spoke to one caregiver who couldn’t bring a newborn home because she couldn’t find a specific formula.
“It impacted me because she needed the milk,” said Monique Braswell.
Monique Braswell is Kimorra Poole’s great aunt, but she now she’s taking on the role of Kimorra’s caregiver. Braswell tells me that Kimorra was diagnosed with Pulmonary Atresia.
“Pulmonary Artesia is a complete blockage of the pulmonary artery. That means no blood is getting out of the right lung and since there is no blood getting out of the right lung there will be an oxygen issue in these patients,” Dr. Pushpa Shivaram, a pediatric cardiologist.
At just 15 weeks old Kimorra has already suffered two massive heart attacks and has had to undergo open heart surgery.
“She came home Monday, she went back into the hospital on Tuesday. She came home Friday she went back into the hospital on Saturday,” said Braswell.
But during one of her recent hospital visits, Kimorra was unable to come home because she couldn’t get a specific type of formula that babies with Pulmonary Artesia need.
“Babies with critical congenital heart disease who have undergone surgeries or supposed to undergo surgeries need something of a higher calorie formula which is about 27 or 30 kilo calorie formula,” said Dr. Shivaram.
Dr. Pushpa Shivaram worked with Kimorra while in the hospital. She says a normal baby would take about 20 kilo calories, but with Kimorra’s condition she needed Enfamil Enfacare for a special recipe that would give her body more calories.
Braswell says, “And I tried to get the milk, but you just could not find the milk anywhere. I left every store crying because the thought of me not being able to bring this baby home because of this shortage was really heartbreaking to me”
Braswell said she was only given WIC vouchers to purchase the formula and when she was able to find it at Target she couldn’t use them.
“But Target don’t accept WIC. A lot of the main drug stores don’t accept WIC. So any of the stores that may have had it… Target was the only one that had it and they only had three cans,” she said.
She says she felt helpless and in that vulnerable state she made a call to action on Facebook and people across the country stepped in to help.
“I had milk coming from Chicago, California, Philadelphia. From all over the United States, Texas women driving from Atlanta to North Carolina everywhere to get this baby some milk.”
She credits a group called Food Angels of the C.S.R.A. for helping spread the word and now she has enough formula for Kimorra to last the next 8 to 9 months.
“There’s a lot of mothers that uses Enfacare and I have donated that to some of those mothers. There’s a mother with 7 month old twins that uses this milk and she still has not been able to find it,” said Braswell.