NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit

It seems that every parent of a newborn will see the brands Similac or Enfamil put in front of them repeatedly and with good reason. These companies make a ton of money on these products. However, cow milk formula can be dangerous for some preterm babies.

Very premature infants should not be given cow milk-based products. Studies have shown that they are at a far higher risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a dangerous and life-threatening intestinal infection.

If your child has been injured or developed NEC after they were given Enfamil infant formula, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Call our personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC for a free case evaluation.

Lawsuit for Baby Formula

Premature infants (before 37 full weeks) fed bovine-based baby formula, such as Similac (or Enfamil baby formula), are more likely to contract the bowel disease necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

Similac and Enfamil Formula Practically Control the Baby Formula Market

Parents often associate the product with the two dominant formula manufacturers. Both Similac and Enfamil control about 40% of the market for infant formula in the United States. Abbott and Mead Johnson make Enfamil. This company was sold to a British firm in 2017 for $16.6 billion, showing exactly how valuable the product is.

Similac and Enfamil makers start early, providing parents with free samples when the mother is pregnant and convincing them that infant formulas will make their lives far easier.

Cow Milk-Based Formulas

The exact cause of NEC is uncertain, but several scientific and clinical studies link cow’s milk-based infant formulas, such as Similac and Enfamil, to an increased chance of a premature infant developing NEC.

The first study indicating a link between bovine formulas and NEC was published in The Lancet in 1990, finding that formula-fed infants were ten times more likely to acquire the disease.

Studies indicate that cow milk formulas cause the intestines of infants to become inflamed and produce too much bacteria, leading to NEC.

The product is still deemed safe for healthy full-term infants. However, it only takes one bad batch of the formula or contamination from a manufacturer worker who may have had an infection that can lead to serious consequences for your child.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), breastfeeding is preferred. However, if that is not possible, then feed bovine-based formulas to premature infants instead of alternatives such as soy milk-based products.

Lack of Warning Label

The problem is that the Mead Johnson company does not provide any warning label on their Enfamil product packaging. The manufacturer claims that the warning would be confusing and cause parents to stop buying Enfamil.

The FDA’s website states that premature infants should not consume cow milk-based formula. However, it is easy for parents of infants to miss this warning if they purchase Enfamil at their local store and trust the company, seeing as the product does not have a specific warning label.

Nutritional Issues When a Baby Is Born Prematurely

Premature babies desperately need nutrition after they are born to help their bodies grow and mature. However, this is not always easy. While needing food from their mother, babies may not have the physical strength to suck the milk from the breast. Nonetheless, nutrition is one of their most critical needs. Therefore, it becomes a challenge to get them the necessary nutrients.

A Mother’s Breast Milk Is Safer

In general, the nutritional content in mother’s milk is the best for a premature baby. Human milk has important fat that helps develop a baby’s brain and neurological tissue. It is also easier for a baby to digest liquid protein-fortified human milk.

Equally as important, feeding the baby only human breast milk is safer than formula feeding. For premature babies, the problem is that their intestinal lining is immature. When the tissue is exposed to cow’s milk proteins, there is a risk of damage. Baby’s do not have a mature digestive system, and they may have a harder time digesting cow’s milk

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Scientific Evidence of the Danger of Cow’s Milk-Based Formulas

Numerous research studies have quantified the higher risk of NEC when the premature baby has been fed formula. These studies have compared the rates of premature babies not fed Similac or Enfamil and those fed the product.

NEC is usually a very rare condition. The normal rate of this infection is one in every 1,000 babies born prematurely. The rate will significantly increase when the babies have received infant formula products that are cow-based. Those fed Enfamil are much more like to have developed NEC.

Here are some of the disturbing numbers that reveal the problem that cow’s milk-based Enfamil products can cause:

  •  One study found that 21% of babies with low birth weights fed with cow-based formulas developed necrotizing enterocolitis instead of 3% of these babies fed with human breast milk.
  • Another randomized study found that 17% of premature babies fed cow’s milk-based formula contracted NEC, compared to 5% of infants fed human milk.
  •  Children who develop NEC are usually those with premature birth, which can also be a symptom of fetal growth restriction. According to research, the baby’s failure to gain weight might indicate NEC, an illness that generally occurs within two to six weeks post-delivery (premature birth).

No matter the research study or the methodology used, it is undeniable not to give infants cow-milk-based formulas.

The Dangers of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Premature Infants

This bacterial infection will kill parts of the intestine through “necrotizing,” the term used when something dies. The condition could lead to the baby losing part of their intestines when a hole allows bacteria to enter.

Eventually, the harmful bacteria can enter the abdominal cavity. Infections are dangerous and life-threatening. Here, the damages can stay with a baby for the rest of their life, as they could have permanent digestive issues.Baby Formula Lawsuit

Premature Babies Should Not Use Cow Based Formula

In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics, recognizing the increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, recommended that premature infants only be given human-based milk products in light of the dangers to their digestive system.

This recommendation helped lay the groundwork for the medical malpractice lawsuits against the doctors who gave cow-based products to premature babies.

How Enfamil Causes Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)

NEC is a gastrointestinal bacterial infection that could permanently damage the baby’s stomach and digestion. The problem with Enfamil and other cow-milk-based products is that they can damage the intestinal lining and make it inflamed.

Eventually, this can lead to deadened intestines and holes. Harmful bacteria will then come through the holes in the intestine and go into the abdominal cavity, causing a life-threatening infection. Emergency surgery is necessary to save the baby’s life in some cases.

The NEC Risks of These Baby Formula Products for Preterm Infants

NEC is a serious condition that could have long-term health risks for preterm infants. Statistics show that roughly 30% of infants who develop NEC, necrotizing enterocolitis, die from the condition.

As a result, NEC will require significant time in the neonatal intensive care unit. In addition, doctors may need to perform emergency surgery to remove the deadened part of the intestine.

Alternatives to These Infant Formulas

Human breast milk is what is the healthiest for a premature baby. Breast milk has a compound in it that helps it fight harmful bacteria. Researchers and doctors recommend that a premature infant receive pumped mother’s milk or breast milk from a human donor.

Enfamil human milk fortifier, Similac human milk fortifier, and other fortified products do not just include cow milk infant formula.

However, too often, doctors and hospitals have given Similac or Enfamil to a premature infant despite a growing scientific consensus of the increased risk of NEC.

If hospitals and doctors need to use products from these companies, they should be using things like the Enfamil to help with the baby’s nutritional needs.

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Grounds for Infant Formula Lawsuits

Here are some of the grounds in the NEC infant formula lawsuits that have been filed against the makers of infant formula products:

  • Enfamil was defectively designed because the makers could have used fortified human breast milk instead of cow’s milk. However, there was a reasonable alternative design that was less dangerous. The manufacturer is aware of an alternative design. Still, it uses cow’s milk despite the dangers.
  • The makers of the Enfamil should have warned the public of the dangers of its product. Instead, they either knew or should have known that their infant formulas were dangerous, and they did nothing. Instead, the defendants spend massive amounts of money advertising their products (over $5 billion each year) but never mention the risk of NEC.

There are cow milk formula products made by other companies marketed to preterm infants who do not consume cow’s milk. Therefore, it is possible to design a safer product for premature infants that would not compromise their health.

Infant Formula Lawsuits

Parents of premature infants have filed lawsuits against Mead Johnson and Abbott. In 2015, a federal jury in Philadelphia awarded $12 million to Robert Coyle, who developed NEC after being fed baby formula with the Similac human milk fortifier while still in the hospital.

However, the manufacturers have not offered to pay the victims’ amounts. The companies only make a small percentage of money on infant formula as it is, but they continue to prove that they do not place any value on infants’ lives.

Mead Johnson is also facing another trial over their Enfamil human milk fortified product in Alabama. The case was filed by the mother of a child who developed brain damage after being fed Enfamil with Iron.

Our law firm has helped countless families seek compensation for harm caused by dangerous drugs and defective products, including infant formula. Contact our attorneys today if your child became seriously ill or injured from NEC or another disease resulting from a contaminated Similac or Enfamil product.

Damages in Baby Formula Lawsuits

Families have a legal entitlement to file Similac baby formula lawsuits after being harmed by Enfamil or human milk fortified products. Their claims include damages for harm to the baby and what the family has suffered. Here is some of what a family can recover for in a lawsuit against the manufacturers:

  • Medical costs: Families can receive money for past and present medical bills associated with necrotizing enterocolitis NEC. However, the cost of an emergency procedure to remove the intestine can be prohibitive. In addition, premature babies may need follow-up surgeries as they get older.
  • Pain and suffering: Often a large part of infant formula lawsuit damages. The baby can experience significant discomfort from the infection.
  • Lost wages – a family can be paid for the money foregone by having to miss work to take care of their baby.
  • Wrongful death damages: As mentioned above, nearly one out of every three preterm babies who develop NEC will die from the condition. When that happens, the family can receive wrongful death damages to compensate for their loss. In addition, the baby’s estate (yes, premature infants do have an estate) can file a survival action to recover for what the baby went through before they died.

Mead Johnson Company Did Not Warn Doctors or Warn Consumers

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) research as far back as the early 1990s documented that babies fed with cow’s milk-based formulas could develop NEC. The NEC risks of a baby diagnosed with the condition are very profound for preterm infants (low birth weight infants).

With that being the case, the makers of Enfamil products would have had an obligation to learn more about their product and its dangers and warn the public of the risks of necrotizing enterocolitis from Enfamil baby formulas.

Instead, however, the manufacturer did absolutely nothing, even as influential medical groups alerted the public.

Baby Formula NEC Lawsuit

Enfamil Lawsuits Have Been Filed for Defective Baby Formula

Many of the NEC baby injury lawsuits previously filed for Enfamil infant formula injuries were against the doctor who prescribed the formula. In addition, families won several major medical malpractice verdicts and settled several other cases.

Now, parents of injured babies are focusing on the companies that make the cow’s milk-based formula Mead Johnson and Abbott. Instead of filing medical malpractice cases, parents are now filing product liability lawsuits for defective baby formula.

There are a growing number of these cases. We expect there will eventually be enough NEC baby formula lawsuits to consolidate these cases into multidistrict litigation. However, it takes time for mass tort cases to reach this point.

In a case decided in July 2014, a federal judge ruled that a lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories could move forward. The lawsuit alleged that Parexel did not adequately warn the parents of the infant being born with “potentially fatal” health problems from being fed Similac Advance formula.

Parents Have Also Filed NEC Lawsuits Against Doctors

Parents sued doctors for medical malpractice before they even filed claims against companies like Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson Company.

As a result, doctors should have known before recommending Enfamil or liquid Similac to premature babies that the product was dangerous and had a higher risk of causing infection.

Parents prevailed in several lawsuits against doctors. In one case, a New York jury awarded a family $5 million for pain and suffering damage when a baby developed NEC after using cow-milk formula. Other cases have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts.

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How to File an NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit

If your premature infant was injured after being fed this popular baby formula, you could file an Enfamil lawsuit. Our baby formula lawyers can help when formula-fed babies have been diagnosed with NEC. Premature babies and their families can hold companies legally responsible.

First, baby formula lawyers would need to investigate your case. Then, the law firm would draft a complaint filed with the court, beginning the legal process in your case.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Involving NEC Baby Formula

Our NEC baby formula lawyers provide legal representation to families who lost preterm babies who died after developing NEC. As a result, many families filing baby formula lawsuits hold the baby formula manufacturers accountable for selling a defective product that took the life of their preterm infant.

Parents need a qualified product liability lawyer to help if their child has been injured because of a defective product such as Enfamil or another type of baby formula. Because any injury could potentially cause death, parents could be financially compensated through an NEC baby formula lawsuit.

Bereaved parents will not have to pay our legal fees unless they receive compensation in the case. Our attorneys can provide immediate legal representation until your child’s claim is fully resolved through settlement or trial.

While nothing can bring back a child that has died because of NEC or other complications associated with using Enfamil or another baby formula, our lawyers can help grieving parents take legal action through a lawsuit after their infant has died.

Attorneys for NEC Infant Formula Lawsuits

The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help with necrotizing enterocolitis lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. In addition, we are experienced in filing medical malpractice lawsuits and suing companies when babies develop NEC.

Call us today at (800) 424-5757 or fill out an online contact form to schedule your free consultation. We can help you fight for the financial compensation your family deserves when your baby has been harmed by cow-milk formula.