NEC from Baby Formula Lawsuit Attorneys
If you fed your baby Similac or Enfamil baby formula and they developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), contact the defective consumer products attorneys of Wallace Miller immediately to learn about the available legal options. You might be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer for your baby’s diagnosis, injuries, and medical expenses. You could file a lawsuit or join a mass tort case to hold the negligent company liable for its actions.
Premature infants are at risk of NEC. It is an intestinal disease that forms from tissue injury or inflammation in the small or large intestines. Tissue death could occur, preventing the infant from holding waste. NEC could also cause intestinal wall perforation.
The manufacturer knew about the dangers of its bovine-based baby formulas. However, warning labels did not disclose the risks of feeding it to premature babies. Hospitals and parents weren’t aware of NEC developing in premature and underweight infants consuming Similac and Enfamil formulas.
The NEC baby formula lawsuit attorneys of Wallace Miller are ready to provide the legal representation and services you need to fight the manufacturer. We can review the circumstances of your case and determine whether you’re eligible to participate in a mass tort lawsuit. You can count on our legal team to protect your rights and tirelessly work to try to reach the best possible outcome.
Common Symptoms of Necrotizing Enterocolitis
Injury or inflammation of the small or large intestine causes a range of issues for the baby. They can’t hold waste in their intestines, allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This can lead to various complications, including NEC. NEC is a common intestinal disease in premature infants.
The most common symptoms of NEC include:
- Vomit that consists of bile
- Trouble feeding
- Food that stays in the stomach longer than usual
- Low or unstable body temperature
- Swollen, tender, or red belly
- Slow heart rate
- Diarrhea and dark or bloody stool
NEC often occurs in infants born before 32 weeks of gestation. The disease can start within the first two to four weeks of a baby’s life. Newborns brought to full-term could also develop NEC if fed baby formula.
A range of complications can result from NEC, including:
- Intestinal stricture – An intestine can grow more narrow a few months after an infant recovers from NEC. Food can’t pass through the intestine as easily. It might require an operation to open the intestine and prevent further complications.
- Growth and developmental problems – Poor neurodevelopmental outcomes and developmental delays could occur in babies that need surgery to manage the symptoms of NEC.
- Abdominal infections – Some infants might suffer a perforated intestine. A hole in the intestinal wall can allow bacteria into the abdominal cavity. Peritonitis, a serious abdominal infection, can result from the spread of bacteria.
- Short bowel syndrome – Some babies have difficulties absorbing nutrients and fluids due to the damage to their small intestines. Tube feedings and lifelong care might be necessary to ensure children with short bowel syndrome receive the nutrition they need for development and growth.
How to Treat Necrotizing Enterocolitis
The progression of the disease, how prematurely your baby was born, and other factors will determine the type of treatment most effective for NEC. A range of NEC treatments is available, including:
- Stop feedings
- Monitor the condition with regularly scheduled X-rays
- Start an IV fluid to maintain nourishment and hydration
- Keep the infant separated from other babies to prevent spreading the disease
- Provide a breathing machine or extra oxygen if the baby’s swollen belly prevents them from breathing on their own
- Insert a tube into the stomach from the nose to keep the stomach empty and remove fluid
- Administer antibiotics to fight infections
Babies can begin feeding again once the infection is gone. It could take between five and seven days to rid the body of the infection.
If NEC causes a hole to form in the intestine or initial treatments don’t produce an improvement in symptoms, surgery might be necessary. The doctor can remove ruptured parts of the intestine and dead tissue during the operation to prevent further damage.
Possible Link Between Baby Formula and NEC
Medical providers and experts researched the link between cow milk-based baby formulas and NEC in babies. The results don’t conclusively show why the disease develops in some premature infants, but it could be because they don’t have fully developed intestines or lungs. It’s also more challenging for them to fight infections and break down food.
The disease affects around one in 2,000 to 4,000 newborns. Although it’s more common in preemies, some babies are at an increased risk of NEC due to factors such as:
- Too many red blood cells
- Existing infections in the gastrointestinal tract
- Premature or high-risk infants fed baby formula by tube or mouth
- Difficult delivery or lowered oxygen levels
- Infants who are seriously ill or receive a blood transfusion
The American Academy of Pediatrics published the results of a study on cow milk-based formulas. The results show premature infants are less likely to develop NEC if they consume breast milk instead of baby formula.
The U.S. Surgeon General also encourages breastfeeding. In a Call to Action released in 2011, various statements bring awareness to the dangers of baby formula to the health of newborns. It also mentions the benefits of feeding premature babies human breast milk to reduce the risk of NEC.
Baby Formula Associated with NEC in Babies
Abbott Laboratories, Inc. and Mead Johnson Nutrition are the two manufacturers at the center of mass tort lawsuits around the country. They supplied their baby formulas to consumers and hospitals despite knowing the risk of NEC.
You could pursue legal action if you fed your infant any of these formulas and they developed NEC.
Similac Formula by Abbott Laboratories
- Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
- Similac NeoSure
- Similac Special Care 24
- Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier
- Similac Special Care 20
- Similac Special Care 30
- Similac Alimentum Expert Care
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier Hydrolyzed Protein Concentrated Liquid
Enfamil Formula by Mead Johnson
- Enfamil Milk Fortifier Liquid Standard Protein
- Enfamil 24 Cal Infant Formula
- Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare
- Enfamil Premature 24 Cal/fl oz HP
- Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 20 Cal with Iron
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Liquid High Protein
- Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 30 Cal with Iron
Timeline of Scientific Evidence Supporting NEC from Baby Formula
Over the years, scientific studies have come out and shown a link between baby formula and NEC in infants.
- 1990 – In 1990, The Lancet published a study on the effects of cow milk-based formula on premature babies. The results show NEC is six to ten times more common in this group than in babies only fed breast milk.
- 2010 – Another study compared the effects of human milk fortifiers or breast milk to bovine-based baby formula. The data concluded that infants fed breast milk or human milk fortifiers are 90 percent less likely to develop NEC.
- 2011 – In a Call to Action released by the U.S. Surgeon General, mothers were encouraged to feed their babies breastmilk instead of formula to reduce the risk of NEC.
- 2014 – The evidence for feeding strategies in babies with NEC show higher rates of the disease when fed formula instead of breast milk.
- 2015 – A study in Portugal shows a 50 percent decrease in NEC rates when infants consume breast milk instead of baby formula.
- 2016 – Another study involving over 1,500 newborns who only drank breast milk found a lower incidence of NEC.
- 2019 – Cochrane studied low birth weight and preterm infants given cow milk-based formulas. The results show the rate of NEC is seven times higher.
- 2021 – The American Academy of Pediatrics published a study on breastfeeding and human milk. Researchers discovered a preference for breast milk to reduce a premature infant’s risk of NEC.
Compensation for Necrotizing Enterocolitis
You could pursue legal action against Mead Johnson or Abbott if your baby developed NEC from either manufacturer’s formulas. The compensation you receive might cover losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Emotional distress
You might also be able to seek exemplary or punitive damages. This form of compensation punishes the defendant and is meant to deter similar actions in the future. However, state laws impose strict requirements for recovering this financial award. You must show clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s misconduct.
Statute of Limitations for Baby Formula NEC
You must follow a strict timeframe to sue the manufacturer for your baby’s diagnosis. Every state has a different statute of limitations. The time period for filing a lawsuit begins on the date of the baby’s injury.
You must file your lawsuit within the required timeframe if you want to pursue compensation. If the statutory period expires before you initiate your lawsuit, you likely won’t be able to pursue legal action against the manufacturer.
Wallace Miller will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation you deserve. We’re not afraid to take on successful manufacturers and fight for our client’s rights. We will handle each step of the legal process on your behalf so you can focus on getting your baby the treatment they need.
If your baby developed necrotizing enterocolitis from cow milk-based formula, call Wallace Miller at (312) 261-6193 or fill out our online questionnaire for your free consultation with one of our NEC baby formula lawsuit attorneys.