NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit
If your preterm or premature baby was fed cow’s milk-based formula such as Similac or Enfamil while in the maternity ward or NICU of a hospital and was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), you may be eligible to file a NEC Baby Formula lawsuit. You might be entitled to compensation.
Premature and low birth weight newborns often have trouble nursing or need extra nutrition to address a myriad of medical conditions. Formula manufacturers create high-calorie, cow’s milk-based products like Enfamil and Similac designed for premature babies. Many hospitals and NICUs use these products to supplement infant feedings, either in place of or along with breastfeeding. These milk-based infant formulas have been recently linked to a deadly condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) – a gastrointestinal disorder that affects premature babies and the manufacturers failed to include any warnings on their products’ labels, guidelines, or instructions regarding the potential risks of a premature baby developing NEC.
Manufacturers of consumer products are required to perform safety tests, meet all quality standards, and provide adequate warnings of potential risks before releasing them to the public. If there’s a risk associated with using the product, they must provide warning labels so consumers understand the dangers they could encounter. Tragically, premature babies have suffered severe injuries or died after ingesting cow’s milk-based formula and their parents were never warned of the risks of NEC. Several parents have filed lawsuits against the makers of Enfamil and Similac to seek justice for the harm done to their children.
As a parent there is nothing more important than the health and safety of your newborn baby. Parents have the right to expect the formula given to their baby is safe. The consequences of a premature baby developing NEC can be deadly or lead to lifelong complications. The cost of medical treatment can become a significant expense resulting in financial strain. You and your baby should not have to endure this type of trauma.
What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious gastrointestinal condition that primarily affects premature babies. The condition inflames intestinal tissue, causing it to die. A hole may form in the intestine, allowing bacteria to leak into the baby’s abdomen. NEC usually develops within two to six weeks after birth.
Symptoms of NEC include:
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Diarrhea with bloody stool
- Green or yellow vomit
- Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
- Changes in body temperature and breathing
- Refusing to eat
- Lack of weight gain
Healthcare providers can diagnose NEC by checking for a swollen belly and ordering blood tests, fecal tests, and abdominal x-rays. NEC can be mild in some infants and extremely serious in others. An infant with NEC is at risk for experiencing serious health problems, such as:
- Abdominal infection called peritonitis
- Intestinal stricture, or narrowing of the intestines
- Short bowel syndrome, which makes it hard for the body to absorb fluids and nutrients
The first step in the treatment of NEC is to stop tube or oral feedings and start the baby on an aggressive course of antibiotics. If the infection is not stopped quickly enough it may leave dead tissue in the baby’s intestines. If this occurs, surgery will be necessary to remove the dead intestinal tissue and repair any holes. Roughly 1 in 4 babies will require surgery to repair the damage to a baby’s abdomen and intestine.
If the condition is not fatal, infants may also suffer from growth failure and neurodevelopmental issues.
Studies Link Infant Formula to Necrotizing Enterocolitis
NEC occurs in about 10% of all premature babies (born 37 weeks or earlier). While the exact cause of NEC is not fully understood, there are a number of studies which have revealed a link between NEC and cow’s milk-based formulas, such as Similac and Enfamil, as compared to breast milk. These studies have demonstrated that premature infants who are fed cow’s milk-based formulas are more likely to develop NEC than those who are not. Despite this knowledge, manufacturers of baby formulas have allegedly not taken steps to warn parents and medical professionals about the dangers.
The first study suggesting a possible link between bovine baby formulas and NEC was first published in Lancet back in 1990 and found that preterm formula-fed infants were 6-10 times more likely to develop NEC than infants who were fed breast milk alone.
In 2010, a study in the Journal of Pediatrics found infants fed with breast milk or human milk fortifiers were 90% less likely to develop NEC compared to those fed with traditional formula made from cow milk.
A 2015 study found that extremely low birth weight infants who ingested their mothers’ breast milk experienced a 50 percent reduction in the rate of NEC and/or late onset sepsis and spent less time in the hospital than those with a different diet. The study concludes that breast milk offers protective qualities that reduce inflammation in preterm infants and the risk of harmful bacteria invading the gastrointestinal tract.
In 2019, Cochrane (an independent healthcare research group) reviewed all evidence available from clinical trials that compared bovine (cow’s milk) formula versus donor breast milk for feeding preterm or low birth weight infants. The study’s analysis of 12 completed trials, which involved 1,871 babies, found that feeding preterm infants with formula nearly doubles their risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis.
A recent study published in October 2021 in the journal Pediatrics & Child Health found that when premature babies are fed infant formula instead of breast milk, they are 3 times more likely develop NEC and be sent to the NICU.
Which Baby Formula Products are Involved in the NEC Lawsuit?
Mead Johnson & Company (Enfamil), Abbott Laboratories (Similac), and other manufacturers of cow’s milk-based formula who failed to warn of the danger of their formula products for preterm infants may be named as defendants in a potential lawsuit. The following baby formula products may be linked to an increased risk of NEC in premature or preterm infants:
- Enfamil NeoPro EnfaCare Infant Formula
- Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 20 Cal with Iron
- Enfamil 24 Cal Infant Formula
- Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 24 Cal High Protein
- Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 24 Cal with Iron
- Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 30 Cal with Iron
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier
- Similac NeoSure
- Similac Alimentum Expert Care
- Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier Hydrolyzed Protein Concentrated Liquid
- Similac Special Care 20
- Similac Special Care 24
- Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
- Similac Special Care 30
If your preterm or premature baby was fed any of these Similac or Enfamil baby formula products while in the maternity ward or NICU of a hospital and was diagnosed with or passed away from complications of NEC, you may qualify for a NEC Baby Formula lawsuit.
By taking legal action against the baby formula manufacturers, you can help hold them accountable for manufacturing a dangerous product and seek compensation for your child’s injuries.
Who is Eligible to File a Lawsuit?
At FrancoLaw, we represent parents of infants diagnosed with NEC against the manufacturers of Enfamil and Similac formula products. Their claims include that Enfamil and Similac are defectively designed and that the manufacturers of those products unlawfully failed to warn of that cow’s milk-based formula increases the risk of NEC in infants. Families who have children that were born prematurely, consumed cow’s milk-based infant formula such as Similac or Enfamil and was diagnosed with NEC may be eligible to file a lawsuit.
A diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is not something any child should have to endure at the beginning of their life. If you believe you have a claim related to your infant’s NEC diagnosis, please contact us. We will work to help your family obtain justice and compensation.
Contact Us Today
If your preterm or premature baby was fed cow’s milk-based formula such as Similac or Enfamil while in the maternity ward or NICU of a hospital and was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), you may be eligible to file a NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit. You can discuss your case with us during a free consultation and receive the legal advice you need to make an informed decision about what to do next. Let us fight for you to hold the manufacturers accountable for the preventable devastation your family has suffered and recover the compensation you deserve. Our firm is experienced in handling product liability cases and we welcome any questions you may have. Call us now at (888) 213-0761 for a free consultation.