According to allegations raised in a new NEC wrongful death lawsuit filed earlier this month in Colorado, side effects of Enfamil and Similac infant formula caused a premature baby to develop a fatal case of necrotizing enterocolitis. The lawsuit joins a growing number of claims alleging that cow’s milk-based baby formula products increase the risk of NEC in premature infants whose underdeveloped gastrointestinal and immune systems are particularly vulnerable to infection and disease. If your child developed necrotizing enterocolitis after being fed Similac or Enfamil at home or at the hospital, do not hesitate to call Consumer Safety Watch for help. We know how devastating an NEC diagnosis or infant’s death can be, and we can put you in touch with an NEC infant formula attorney who can help you pursue the compensation your family deserves for the pain and suffering you have endured.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 15 million babies are born prematurely every year in the United States, where infant formula is a multibillion-dollar industry dominated by just a handful of companies. For preterm babies with a low birth weight, proper nutrition is crucial, and the makers of cow’s milk-based infant formula products have aggressively marketed their formulas and fortifiers as superior to human breast milk and essential for the growth of premature, low-birth-weight babies. However, a growing body of scientific research indicates the opposite – that cow’s milk-based products may significantly increase the risk of NEC, a serious gastrointestinal condition that can be fatal in premature infants. In infants with NEC, the intestinal tissue becomes inflamed and dies, causing a hole to form in the intestine that may allow bacteria to leak into the abdomen or bloodstream.
Across the country, the parents of preterm babies who developed NEC after consuming cow’s milk-based infant formula products like Similac and Enfamil are pursuing legal claims against the manufacturers, alleging that the companies withheld information about the link between infant formula and NEC from parents and the medical community for years. This latest NEC lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado by Octavia Patton-Ashley, a mother whose son was born prematurely at Children’s Hospital Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado, on February 4, 2021. According to the claim, the baby boy, identified as S.A. in the complaint, developed necrotizing enterocolitis and died on June 20, 2021, after being fed cow’s milk-based infant formula at home upon discharge from the hospital.
Patton-Ashley alleges in her wrongful death lawsuit that Abbott Laboratories, the maker of Similac, and Mead Johnson, the maker of Enfamil, intentionally deceived parents and the medical community for decades, misrepresenting their formula and fortifier products as “safe, effective, and substantially similar to or even superior to human breast milk.” The wrongful death claim states that “current science and research confirms strong links between cow’s milk-based products and a significantly increased risk of developing NEC, which can cause death in premature infants, along with many other health complications and long-term risks to the infant.” It states further that “contrary to Defendants’ representations that their products were superior to human breast milk, advances in science show that, in reality, a human breast milk diet is superior to a formula-based diet.”
Given common questions of fact and law, dozens of baby formula NEC lawsuits filed against the makers of Similac and Enfamil in the federal court system have been centralized before Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer in the Northern District of Illinois. There, the lawsuits will be consolidated for coordinated pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL), giving families with children who suffered long-term complications or died from NEC an opportunity to recover the compensation they deserve. If your premature infant was fed a cow’s milk-based infant formula product like Enfamil or Similac while in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or upon discharge from the hospital and subsequently developed necrotizing enterocolitis, call Consumer Safety Watch as soon as possible. We can help guide you through the process of filing a legal claim for compensation.