DETROIT – Baby Daxton Jackson made his way into the world on Oct. 31, 2021.
Mom Wendy Jackson, a medical doctor herself, wanted to breastfeed, but she wasn’t producing enough milk, so she did what she thought was the next best thing, and she turned to the Similac formula Oakwood Hospital provided her with.
“I’m upset that they gave that out, and I trusted that brand,” said Jackson.
Almost immediately, she noticed something was off.
“I noticed that my baby had a strange smell to him,” Wendy Jackson said.
That wasn’t all.
“He started having a thick scaly scalp, and his hair fell out in the middle,” Wendy Jackson said. His whole body had this thick black skin.”
She says his stool was also black. His pediatrician wasn’t overly concerned, but Wendy Jackson was.
She switched Daxton Jackson to another form of Similac, thinking it might help. Weeks later, she stopped using Similac altogether.
“The symptoms went away,” said Wendy Jackson. “The scaling stopped in a couple of days.”
It was months later when Abbott Nutrition announced a recall on several types of its formula because of a dangerous bacteria. Two infants died, several others were hospitalized, and even more moms like Jackson believe the formula made their babies sick.
“This is not the first time Abbott labs has been in some kind of difficulty because they have had many violations in the past,” said Attorney Dionne Webster-Cox.
Webster-Cox is filing suit against Abbott labs, Oakwood Hospital, and other healthcare providers who she alleges endangered babies lives right here in Michigan.
She’s representing several local mothers, like Wendy Jackson.
“It’s the same thing,” Webster-Cox said. “They were at the hospital; they were given a seven-day supply, the child is constipated, a rash, something on the scalp, something is just not right. The child is lethargic.”
Webster-Cox says the refunds and replacements offered by Similac don’t go far enough.
These moms worry about the long-term impacts of exposure to the bacteria.
“I don’t know what subtle things because physical milestones can be different than educational milestones, mental milestones, we just don’t know,” Wendy Jackson said. “I don’t see as much outrage as it should be.”
“It’s poisoning, and we know when something is poisoning because we see the effects of it,” Webster-Cox said. “We see the side effects, and that’s where it’s just sad.”
The lawsuit was filed at 36th District Court. They are seeking damages as well as legal fees. Webster-Cox is in talks with other moms with similar stories, so this may be the first of many lawsuits we see filed here in the state of Michigan.
Abbott labs spokesman Scott Stoffel released the following statement:
“We are very sympathetic to families in these situations. We value the trust parents and caregivers place in us and ensuring the safety and quality of our products is our top priority. As part of Abbott’s quality processes, all infant formula products are tested for Cronobacter sakazakii, Salmonella and other pathogens, and they must test negative before any product is released. No distributed product from our Sturgis, Mich., facility has tested positive for the presence of either Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella.”