Newborns and infants are particularly susceptible to injuries and diseases, especially if they were born prematurely. Unfortunately, new research indicates certain formula brands increase babies’ chances of developing a rare, potentially fatal intestinal disease called necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC. If your child developed NEC after drinking formula based on cow’s milk, you might have the right to compensation for your child’s medical bills and other related losses.
Our product liability attorneys can help you hold the manufacturers of these toxic baby formulas accountable for their negligence. Mass torts and class actions are two of our firm’s core focus areas, and we understand the challenges involved in winning these challenging cases. Your child may have suffered permanent injuries from formula based on cow’s milk, and the compensation from a lawsuit can help you give them a better life. Call us today or visit out contact page for a free consultation.
NEC is a disease that affects a baby’s intestines, particularly if a baby is born early. The disease causes inflammation in a baby’s intestinal tissue. If a baby develops NEC, the inflamed intestinal tissue can die and cause severe health problems. In some cases, NEC can cause a hole to form in a baby’s intestine, leading to major complications. A baby with NEC may suffer additional injuries if bacteria enter the abdomen or bloodstream through a hole in the intestines. Common symptoms of NEC from baby formula include:
After numerous reports emerged of babies developing NEC after drinking formula based on cows’ milk, lawyers and parents across the country took their claims to court. Several suits are now pending against Abbott, who makes Similac, and Mead Johnson, who makes Enfamil. These lawsuits allege that the companies knew about the risk of premature babies developing NEC after drinking formula based on cow’s milk and hid those risks from the public. If the evidence shows Abbott or Mead Johnson knew about these risks and didn’t tell anyone, they could be liable for any injuries or deaths their products caused.
Research has consistently shown that formula is not ideal for helping babies develop, especially after a premature birth. A 1990 study in The Lancet found that preterm babies who exclusively drank formula were 6-10 times more likely to develop NEC than those who drank breast milk alone. A 2011 study from Johns Hopkins Medicine found that just one of 29 premature infants who only drank human milk developed NEC, compared with five out of 24 premature babies who only drank formula. Furthermore, the one infant who drank human milk and developed NEC did not require surgery, while four of the infants who drank formula and developed NEC needed surgery.
New studies have supported the conclusions of earlier research. A 2021 study published in the journal Pediatrics and Child Health found that compared with preemie babies who received pasteurized donor human milk, babies who received formula were almost three times as likely to need treatment in a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for suspected NEC. In their conclusion, the study’s authors wrote that their findings “support the current literature that infants who receive formula are at increased risk for transfer for suspected NEC” compared to those who receive pasteurized donor human milk.
The current NEC lawsuits are primarily product liability claims against Abbott, the maker of Similac, and Mead Johnson, the maker of Enfamil. The families making these claims argue that Abbott and Mead Johnson are liable for their children’s injuries because the companies knew about the potential for NEC and hid the risks. Furthermore, these claims allege that Abbott and Mead Johnson used deceptive marketing practices by saying their baby formula was “nutritionally equivalent” to human breast milk and “medically endorsed.”
In addition to these product liability claims, doctors and other healthcare providers who recommended Similac and Enfamil may share liability for NEC-related injuries. The potential risks of having premature babies drink formula have been well-understood for some time. A lawsuit could allege that doctors should have known better than to recommend formula to parents. If a doctor recommended using formula and a baby developed NEC as a result, the doctor might be liable for the baby’s injuries.
The NEC lawsuits are still in the early stages of litigation, but you could potentially recover compensation for:
You will likely need a lawyer’s help to recover compensation for your child’s NEC-related injuries. Our toxic baby formula injury lawyers can help you with your case by:
Diseases in infancy can affect children for the rest of their lives. If your child developed NEC after drinking cows’ milk-based formula, we could help you recover the money you need to care for them and treat their injuries. We can take care of all the legal work and protect your rights while you focus on what’s most important: Your child’s health. Call us today or visit our contact page for a free consultation.