Many premature babies cared for in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) are fed cow’s milk-based baby formula either exclusively or through fortifiers as a supplement to their mother’s breastmilk, to ensure that they get the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly. However, some of the most widely used infant formula products, like Similac and Enfamil, have been linked to an increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in premature babies. If your premature infant was fed Enfamil or Similac in the NICU or hospital and suffered injuries or death from NEC, you may be eligible for compensation from the manufacturer, which you can pursue by filing a baby formula NEC lawsuit. Your child needs and deserves the best possible care following an NEC diagnosis, so contact us as soon as possible to discuss whether you have a claim.
Infant Formulas May Cause Life-Threatening Intestinal Disease
The most recent side effect linked to cow’s milk-based baby formulas is necrotizing enterocolitis, a potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal condition that typically develops in premature infants within the first two weeks of life, when the bowel has not yet matured. In babies with NEC, bacteria invade the intestines, causing inflammation and sometimes perforation of the intestinal wall, which allows bacteria to seep into the bloodstream and cause a serious or fatal infection. Symptoms of NEC in premature infants may include:
• Abdominal pain and swelling
• Diarrhea with bloody stool
• Green or yellow vomit
• Feeding problems
• Lack of weight gain
• Changes in breathing and body temperature
• Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
According to Nemours KidsHealth, NEC is the most common and serious intestinal disease among premature infants, and recent reports suggest that premature infants who are fed cow’s milk formula rather than breastmilk may face a greater risk of NEC. Sadly, the gastrointestinal condition is fatal in 50% of cases, and even babies who survive NEC can suffer from ongoing problems that may require surgical intervention to remove the affected portions of the bowel.
The two baby formula brands that have been associated with NEC are Enfamil and Similac.
Enfamil manufacturer Mead Johnson & Company and Similac manufacturer Abbott Laboratories are now being sued by the parents of premature babies who developed NEC or died after being fed the companies’ supposedly safe cow’s milk-based baby formulas. These NEC and wrongful death lawsuits allege that the companies failed to provide parents and caretakers with proper warnings about the risk of their infant formula products causing serious gastrointestinal problems or death in premature infants. The manufacturers are accused of promoting their products as safe despite years of research linking cow’s milk baby formulas to NEC in preterm babies and putting their desire for profits above the health and safety of infants who are most at risk for illness and disease. The following formula products may increase the risk of NEC in premature babies:
• Enfamil NeoPro EnfaCare Infant Formula
• Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 20 Cal with Iron
• Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 24 Cal with Iron
• Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 30 Cal with Iron
• Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 24 Cal High Protein
• Enfamil 24 Cal Infant Formula
• Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier
• Similac NeoSure
• Similac Alimentum Expert Care
• Similac Special Care 20
• Similac Special Care 24
• Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
• Similac Special Care 30
• Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
• Similac Human Milk Fortifier
• Similac Human Milk Fortifier Hydrolyzed Protein Concentrated Liquid
Unfortunately, these baby formulas have not been recalled and they remain on the market for use in premature infants, despite the potential risk of NEC.
The parents of preterm babies who developed necrotizing enterocolitis after consuming Enfamil or Similac baby formula are filing lawsuits against Mead Johnson & Company and Abbott Laboratories, seeking damages for their child’s injuries or wrongful death. No amount of money can make up for the fact that a trusted product like infant formula is harming vulnerable premature babies. However, recovering damages from the companies responsible for the safety of these products can help affected families cover the cost of treatment, hospitalization, surgery, or other necessary medical care. If your baby was born premature, was given Enfamil or Similac in the hospital or NICU, and was diagnosed with NEC requiring hospitalization or surgical intervention, contact our legal team as soon as possible to discuss the possibility of filing a baby formula NEC claim.
Cow Milk Based Formulas and Fortifiers Linked to NEC. Compensation may be available for victims.
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