Michael Gonzales looks like your ordinary three-year-old boy when he’s drumming on his belly and running around in circles. In fact, he is anything but ordinary. Michael suffers from what doctors say is the worst case they’ve ever seen of a rare medical condition known as “Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome” or FPIES. This condition usually limits the kinds of foods a patient can eat; in Michael’s case, it limits him right down to one—a prescription powdered formula by a company called Nutricia Neocate. Everything else he has ever eaten has resulted in severe vomiting and diarrhea, but, for some unknown reason, Michael can digest that formula, and it is currently the only thing keeping him alive. Doctors say that FPIES usually goes away by the time the patient is five or six, but there is no guarantee.
To make matters worse, four months ago when Nutricia changed its packaging, Michael had a violent reaction to the very formula that was sustaining his life. Although the company has issued an evaluation with the FDA, and continues to affirm that its product has not been altered, many children like Michael have noticed the difference. Michael is now surviving on what remains of the older packaged formulas, but his mother is desperate to find a solution before their small supply expires this October.