NEC After Formula Use Lawsuits
Lawyers in Jackson Helping NEC-Afflicted Newborns & Parents
Parents across the country are reporting that their infants – especially premature babies – have suffered necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after drinking cow milk-based baby formulas like Enfamil and Similac. In light of so many of these reports, many of those same parents are now reaching out to legal professionals to see if they can sue the makers of these unsafe baby formulas for justice and compensation.
Currently, ‘Maggio | Thompson, LLP in Jackson, Mississippi, is hearing from parents of premature infants who have been diagnosed with NEC and who were fed cow milk-based baby formulas. Research has shown that these formulas dramatically increase the risk of NEC, yet parents were never given any warning. We know this is an injustice to these parents and their innocent children, so we are gearing up for a legal battle that helps set things right.
Call our firm at (601) 265-6869 today. We can help you better understand your options during a free initial consultation.
What is NEC?
Necrotizing enterocolitis is a gastrointestinal disease that mostly afflicts premature infants. It is caused by inflammation of the intestines that gradually or quickly damages the tissue to the point of tissue death or necrosis. As the necrosis worsens, it can cause a hole to appear, which allows bacteria to leak into the child’s abdomen. Although NEC can be mild, each case has the potential to be life-threatening or cause permanent health complications, so it should always be taken seriously.
Long-term effects and risks of NEC include:
- Infant death
- Mental development delays
- Muscular atrophy
- Abdominal infection
- Intestinal stricture
- Short bowel syndrome
Can NEC Be Treated?
NEC can be treated in most cases but only if it is diagnosed on time. Advanced stages of NEC are more likely to cause fatal complications, so it is important to take your infant to the doctor as soon as you notice the warning signs, like abdominal swelling, green vomit, or bloody stools.
To treat NEC, a strict regimen of antibiotics may be used, which can cause other side effects but is relatively safe for a baby. In moderate cases, a nasogastric tube might need to be periodically used to drain excess gas and fluids from the baby’s stomach to deter the growth of bacteria. However, about 25% of all infants with NEC will need a type of surgery called ostomy, which replaces or removes a section of the intestines that has become necrotic. Ostomy procedures carry many risks, but one might be the only option in severe cases of NEC.
Why Do Some Formulas Cause NEC?
The exact reason why cow milk-based baby formulas are more likely to cause NEC is not known at the moment. Yet it is clear that there is a significantly higher chance of NEC developing in infants who use this type of baby formula – rather than human breastmilk-based formulas – so the connection is clear.
It is believed that cow milk-based formulas are more likely to contain higher levels of unfamiliar bacteria because the milk came from another species. Infants have weak immune systems, especially premature babies. These fragile immune systems are unable to control and eliminate the bacterial counts in the bovine baby formula, so infection is more likely, which causes the initial intestinal inflammation. As time goes on, feeding the child more formula will worsen the inflammation to the point that it causes necrosis, the first part of NEC.
To reduce the risk of NEC, parents are being urged to only feed their children breastmilk or formulas that are based on human breastmilk. You should immediately discontinue the use of any cow milk-based formula like Enfamil or Similac. Do not discard these products, though, as the product and its packaging could be instrumental in our claim.
Can You Sue Enfamil or Similac?
Currently, the focus of legal action in response to baby formula-caused NEC cases has been on suing the formula manufacturers. Mostly, the makers of Enfamil and Similac are looking at the most legal action taken against them. As mentioned, the products have been linked to a higher risk of NEC for quite some time, but the manufacturers did nothing to warn consumers.
If enough parents come forward with complaints that their child’s NEC was caused by Enfamil or Similac formula, then class action lawsuits could form. By compiling all plaintiffs into a single class, a class action lawsuit allows dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people to seek compensation and justice sooner than later. Otherwise, each case would have to be heard individually, which would likely take too long for any award to be useful to the plaintiffs.
If successful, a class action could reward plaintiffs with compensation that helps pay for:
- Years of medical care for their children
- Specialized care or rehab for their children
- Pain and suffering experienced by their child and themselves
NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit Criteria
Due to the specifics of NEC, it is important to look at each case on an individualized basis to determine claim or lawsuit eligibility. Not all incidents of a child being diagnosed with NEC and having had consumed a cow milk-based baby formula will justify a lawsuit. There are a few prerequisites that will be fulfilled by a claimant with a stronger chance of success.
In general, NEC baby formula case criteria include:
- Baby was born premature or earlier than 37 weeks.
- Baby was fed infant formula or fortifier, such as Enfamil or Similac brand formula.
Baby was then diagnosed with:
- Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
- Unspecific infection or gastrointestinal/stomach issue coinciding with a distended or swollen stomach, greenish-yellow liquid vomiting, or diagnosed holes in the baby’s intestine or bowel*.
Baby suffered one or more of the following severe consequences:
- Stomach, intestines, gut, or bowel surgery.
- Gastrointestinal issues or other bowel conditions caused by NEC like Short Bowel Syndrome.
- Prolonged hospitalization to treat NEC.
(* You might not recall if your child was diagnosed specifically with NEC. Or your pediatrician might not have reached that diagnosis. However, if you were told that your child had a stomach or intestinal infection and you noticed serious symptoms similar to NEC, then your case is likely still valid and should be investigated.)
Get Help from Attorneys Who Care
Our NEC baby formula attorneys are ready to help you if your child has been diagnosed with NEC after consuming a cow milk-based baby formula product. We are proud to stand up for the people in our communities and our lives, especially when that means doing what is right for an infant who has been hurt due to corporate negligence. Please do not hesitate to call us at (601) 265-6869 right away to arrange a no-cost consultation. We are here to answer your important legal questions.