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Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center providing resources to families in medical crisis because of baby formula shortage

The hospital president said Williamsburg families facing emergencies can visit the emergency room and staff will assess their child's needs.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — A baby formula shortage is impacting families across the nation, and leaders at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center are stepping up for those who are struggling to feed their children and facing a medical crisis. 

“We hope we leave those families with some hope while we’re living through this crisis together," said Amber Price, president of Sentara Williamsburg Medical Center. 

Price said she and her staff grew concerned when they heard some parents turning to measures, like watering down baby formulas. She wants people in Williamsburg to know the hospital is available to help families in crisis.

“That can range from needing support for breastfeeding, having extreme difficulty finding specialty formula for a high-needs baby, or a baby not doing well and is sick," said Price.

Price said Williamsburg families facing emergencies can visit the hospital’s ER and someone from their staff will assess their baby’s needs and connect them to available resources within the hospital or in the community.

Sentara is committed to serving our most vulnerable community members during the worldwide shortage of baby formula. We...

Posted by Sentara Healthcare on Wednesday, May 18, 2022

“That care can look like an immediate assessment by one of our pediatricians or emergency room physicians to emotional support, lactation support, and in some cases, the release of formula for a temporary bridge,” she said.

"We were starting to get a little desperate,” said Jan Brown, who lives in Williamsburg.

Brown and her partner recently began caring for a 16-week-old baby in need of special care. Faced with a national shortage of baby formula, Brown didn’t know where to turn.

“You know, I would have never thought to turn to a hospital," she said. “I mean it just came out of nowhere, and boy, in desperation, did we need it.”

Brown said the team connected her to someone this week who is helping her get specifically, needed formula. Brown also attended classes designed for mothers at Sentara Williamsburg Medical Center. 

Last week, Price posted a message to Williamsburg families about available resources at the hospital. Since then, Price said hospital staff have connected several families with parenting classes, support to find certain baby formulas, emotional support and translation services for non-English speaking parents. 

Williamsburg moms, if you find yourself without formula, and it’s an emergency, please present to our ER and we will help you. #Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center See info below:

Posted by Amber Price on Friday, May 13, 2022

“It was already a problem before the shortage. Resources are not available to all parents," said Price. "And people already struggled sometimes with some food insecurity." 

Sentara leaders stress they want to reserve resources for families facing emergencies, but they want to help any way they can.

Sentara Healthcare leaders also released a list of resources for families facing a medical crisis because of the formula shortage.

You can find that list of resources here. 

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