Sichuan Baby Dies from Contaminated Formula

October 3, 2008 4:38 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 10:46 pm
Picture of little Song Yanlin before she died from the tainted Sanlu milk formula. (sanlu milk formula powder image)
Picture of little Song Yanlin before she died from the tainted Sanlu milk formula. (sanlu milk formula powder image)

China’s contaminated baby formula has caused many illnesses and fatalities for infants across the country. In Sichuan Province’s Langzhong city, Song Hong’s daughter, 22-month-old Yanlin, was one of the unfortunate deaths directly related to the Sanlu Baby Formula.

She died on the night of August 16, 2008 due to long term use of the product. However, only after news was disclosed that the formula was contaminated did the family understand the true cause of her death. The family is requesting compensation through legal means.

Sanlu Formula Taken Since Birth

Ms. Song’s daughter was born on November 16, 2006, and because she was unable to produce breast milk, Yanlin had been taking Sanlu formula since birth.

On August 14, Yanlin suddenly displayed symptoms such as insomnia, fever, and bloating, and was immediately taken to the clinic in town. At that time, the doctor thought the baby had a cold, which caused the digestive problems, but symptoms didn’t seem to improve, and instead they got worse. Young Yanlin was immediately transferred to People’s Hospital in Langzhong City for treatment. Despite the efforts by the hospital the baby passed away soon after.  

“The baby had a fever soon after waking on the morning of August 14,” recalls Ms. Song. “Before then, she hadn’t gone to the bathroom for two days. After she was sent to the hospital, her symptoms became very severe and she started vomiting. The doctor kept stating it was food poisoning. Eventually she was diagnosed as having kidney malfunction and a brain infection. After the she died, the hospital still didn’t know what caused it, they couldn’t pinpoint the cause. Therefore, her medical records contain several symptoms and diagnoses.”

After the baby died, the entire Song family was devastated. They couldn’t figure out what the baby ate that could have caused her untimely death. At that time, news of the Sanlu formula contamination had not been disclosed to the public.

The formula was purchased from a supermarket in Langzhong City.  “We did not keep the receipts, but they have our records,” said Ms. Song. “They even gave us a baby cart when we purchased formula.” The Song family has since decided to sue the Sanlu company, and have hired an attorney.

Mr. Song says that he has also written to Chen Sheng, head of the Department of Public Health and Sichuan Provincial Public Health Department to explain what happened, but has not received any response.

“China’s quality control department must be held partially responsible for this,” said Mr. Song. “The Sanlu formula, which was waived from quality inspection, turned out to be so highly contaminated. How can we feel safe about what we feed our children, let alone ourselves? There are many children who have taken the Sanlu formula, and so many have wound up in the hospital.”

Read original article in Chinese.