Recently, studies have emerged showing a link between certain brands of baby formula and a potentially life-threatening health condition in premature infants. If your baby developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) after ingesting formula from Similac or Enfamil, you could have a personal injury or wrongful death case.
Our attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can explain the process of filing a Similac NEC baby formula lawsuit and your legal options. A free consultation with our team is available.
Infant Formula Enfamil and Similac Have Been Linked to a Life-Threatening Condition for Premature Babies or Preterm Infants
- Was your baby born prematurely?
- Were they fed Enfamil, Similac, or another formula made out of cow’s milk while they were in the NICU?
- Was your baby diagnosed with the bowel disease Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) and the devastating complications of NEC?
You may be able to file an NEC baby formula lawsuit to get justice for your family. Contact Dolman Law Group right away for a free consultation.
Premature babies and those with low birth weights often need extra nutrition to address their low weight and need for an extra boost while developing. This is why most hospitals, nurses, and doctors recommend that preterm infants with low birth weight are put on formula if the baby won’t breastfeed. This is a perfectly normal choice and one we expect to be safe. Tragically, this is not always the case.
Recently, studies have begun to show that some cow’s milk-based infant formulas have been linked to a deadly condition. Specifically, the use of cow milk has been linked to an increased risk of developing a gastrointestinal disorder called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which can cause the intestinal wall to become inflamed and later destroyed. This can lead to infection, blood poisoning, and death.
You Could Have a Case Against Baby Formula Manufacturers
Unfortunately, nobody has bothered to warn already over-stressed mothers and fathers about this. Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson & Company (the makers of Similac and Enfamil, respectively) have not added any warning labels to their products regarding the potential risks of a premature baby developing NEC as a result of cow’s milk.
It’s unclear if any hospitals or doctors were aware of this risk and failed to warn new parents. This is the precipice of the Similac lawsuits and Enfamil lawsuits.
Sadly, some parents whose infants have experienced the unthinkable after ingesting cow’s milk formula are now filing baby formula lawsuits against these manufacturers. If you believe your child has suffered injury or death due to necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed cow-milk formula, an experienced defective baby product attorney can help you build a claim.
You have a right to expect companies who take on the responsibility of making baby food to be safe and effective. When they fail to do so, and it leads to injury or death, you should seek justice. Your family may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, funeral costs, and pain and suffering caused by your child’s injuries or tragic death.
Contact a baby formula lawyer at Dolman Law Group right now for a free initial case evaluation.
What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disease that mostly affects the intestines of premature and low-weight infants.
NEC is caused by bacteria that attack the wall of the baby’s intestine, which leads to local infection and inflammation. The inflammation of the newborn’s colon can lead to the death of tissue inside the organ. This can ultimately destroy the intestinal wall. Further, the inflammation can result in perforations of the colon or walls of the intestine.
Once the wall is destroyed by the bacteria, it can cause a tear which leads to spillage of stool into the infant’s abdomen. This can result in an overwhelming infection, organ failure, and death. To hear that a baby dies from formula use is shocking, to say the least.
What Causes NEC?
Overall, NEC affects 1 in 2,000 to 4,000 births. Although rare in normal-weight births, NEC occurs in nearly 10% of premature infants.
The exact cause of NEC is unknown, but it is clear that it usually presents itself in infants who are premature and formula feeding. One reason researchers believe this happens has to do with the extremely thin lining of the intestines in premature babies.
The premature infant has to decrease oxygen delivery to the intestines, which can damage the lining of the intestinal wall. This damage to the bowel wall can allow bacteria that normally live inside the intestine to infect the wall of the intestine and cause NEC.
As we mentioned, many different clinical studies and scientific research have shown the link between necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and the use of infant formula, including one published in Expert Review of Clinical Immunology. Research from the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has also confirmed that premature babies that are fed only human breast milk (without any cow’s-milk supplementation) have a lower risk of NEC and death.
Some doctors and researchers believe that cow’s milk-based formulas are harder for premature infants to digest because of their bacterial make-up and contribute to NEC. Similarly, infant formulas may not be fully sterile and may pose a risk of serious bacterial infections for vulnerable preemies. Hence, we have seen prolific filings of milk formula lawsuits throughout the nation.
Can Enfamil or Similac Cause NEC?
In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued the directive that premature infants should only be fed human-based milk. The leading study on the subject of NEC and baby formula studied and followed the health of 900 premature babies who were fed cow-based formula.
According to a clinical trial published in Lancet, babies that consumed cow-based formula (such as Enfamil or Similac) are six to ten times more likely to be diagnosed with NEC compared to preemies that drank solely human breast milk. Please note that Enfamil and Similac still do not post warnings concerning the risk of feeding cow-based milk formula to preemies. At a minimum, the manufacturers of Enfamil and Similac should post warnings of potential death and risk of severe intestinal/colon issues.
In 2019, Cochrane conducted a thorough review of 12 completed trials that involved 1871 infants. The studies indicated that the use of cow-based formula doubled the risk of a premature infant developing NEC as compared to babies ingesting human breast milk.
Symptoms of NEC
Premature babies who are suffering from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) may experience:
- Swollen, red, or tender stomach
- Abdominal pressure
- Refusal to eat or hold down food
- Fluctuations in temperature
- Abnormal breathing patterns
- Slowed heart rate
- Low blood pressure
NEC can also cause serious injuries like permanent blindness, loss or removal of the small and/or large intestines, and cerebral palsy. In most cases, the baby survives but suffers catastrophic injuries. In rare cases, the infection can lead to death.
The Serious Danger of NEC
We referenced above the serious injuries and health issues that can be attributed to NEC. Keep in mind, the above list was not exhaustive, and other serious injuries can occur, such as:
NEC can cause rapid decay and tissue death to the baby’s inner intestinal walls and may develop in the large or small intestine. The necrotizing infection originates in the inner lining of the intestinal walls and impacts the entire intestine thickness.
When NEC causes wall perforation, it allows the bacteria from inside the intestine to leak out into the abdominal cavity. The situation rapidly progresses into a widespread internal infection and eventually causes sepsis, a deadly bloodstream infection.
Intestinal stricture is the narrowing of the intestine, hindering easy food passage. To correct the strictures, your child might require surgery. Sometimes, NEC results in intestinal tissue removal leading to short bowel syndrome and impacting the baby’s development and growth.
Other severe injuries associated with NEC are:
- Short bowel syndrome
- Narrowing of the intestines (intestinal stricture)
- Peritonitis, which is an infection of the abdomen
Infant Formula Lawsuit – Formulas Should Be Safe and Worry – Free
Having a new baby should be an extremely exciting time. However, when a baby is born prematurely, this happy event may also be filled with stress, fear, and worry.
Premature babies already have enough problems. By definition, a premie baby is usually small, lacks body fat, and has trouble suckling and swallowing. This means that because they did not grow fully in the womb, they need extra nutrition and assistance once they are born. This is why advanced infant formulas have been developed.
One of the most common types of infant formulas is made out of cow’s milk. Almost all babies do well on cow’s milk-based formulas. They can be made in a factory to mimic breast milk, and they are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. They also have the vitamins and minerals that babies need to grow.
These formulas are produced by hundreds of different companies, but some of the most popular ones are Enfamil and Similac. These companies are required to undergo rigorous testing and development in order to be released for public use. However, that does not mean that everything is always perfectly safe for your special new baby.
Injured Consumers Can Hold Manufacturers Liable
In general, manufacturers of all different products in the U.S. can be held liable for any injuries that are caused by their products if they presented an unreasonable risk of harm. Manufacturers also have a duty to warn consumers about any dangers associated with using their products. This is why you see electrical shock stickers on clothing irons or warnings on medicines.
One of the reasons we as a nation require this kind of warning is because these companies spend millions on research and development and usually find these dangers during that process. It only makes sense that they should warn people about them then.
This is why you can file a civil lawsuit against any company that does cause you or your family harm and fails to warn of the dangers. This is especially true when the manufacturer knew the product was dangerous but hid it from consumers to increase their profits and protect their reputation. There exists a reasonable belief that Similac formula manufacturer Abbott Laboratories was aware of the danger.
Risk Factors for Premature Birth
Babies who suffer from NEC caused by milk-based formulas are only in this position because they were born underweight and usually before their due date. Because of this, it is helpful to understand the risk factors of preterm birth.
The specific cause of premature birth isn’t clear; however, there are some known risk factors for premature baby delivery, including:
- Mother has a previous premature birth
- Being pregnant with twins, triplets, or other multiples
- A span of fewer than six months between pregnancies
- Conceiving through in vitro fertilization
- Complications with the uterus, cervix, or placenta
- Smoking cigarettes or using illicit drugs during pregnancy
- Infections in the mother, specifically of the amniotic fluid or lower genital tract
- High blood pressure and diabetes in the mother
- Mother being underweight or overweight before and during pregnancy
- High stress during pregnancy
- Previous multiple miscarriages or abortions
- Physical injury or trauma to the mother
For unknown reasons, black women are especially susceptible to premature birth when compared to women of other races. However, you should remember that premature birth can happen to anyone. In fact, many women who have a premature birth had no known risk factors. However, health officials have become alarmed at the issues faced by premature infants fed cow’s milk-based formula.
Diagnosis of NEC – Necrotizing Enterocolitis in a Newborn
Diagnosis of NEC usually begins with noticeable symptoms like those listed above. It can then be confirmed through an abdominal x-ray of the intestine. Once an NEC x-ray is performed, a fecal occult blood test may be given to test for elevated white blood cell count, low platelet count (thrombocytopenia), or lactic acidosis.
Treatment for NEC
Treatment for necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) begins, of course, with stopping the formula regiment the newborn infant is on. Then, excess stomach gas can be relieved from the bowels by inserting a small tube into the stomach. This usually allows doctors to begin antibiotic treatment and assess whether or not surgery is needed. Intravenous feeding is also typically started.
The infant’s condition will then be continually monitored with x-rays, blood tests, and other assessments. If it is found that the baby has a hole in their intestine or inflammation of the abdominal wall, then surgery will be necessary. During surgery to treat NEC, the dead bowel tissue is removed, and a colostomy or ileostomy is performed.
A colostomy is a surgical procedure in which a part of the colon is rerouted to an artificial opening in the abdominal wall to bypass the damaged part of the colon.
An ileostomy is a surgical procedure that creates an opening at the surface of the skin, which allows the small intestine to move intestinal waste into an external ostomy system. The bowel may then be reconnected several weeks or months later when the infection and inflammation have healed.
Prognosis for NEC
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious disease that leads to death in 40% of infants who suffer from it. Treating the disease early and aggressively can improve the infant’s chances of a full recovery.
Who Is Being Sued for Baby Formula Injuries?
Abbott (maker of Similac) and Mead Johnson (maker of Enfamil) have allegedly failed to properly warn parents and medical professionals that their products could cause or significantly increase the risk of NEC and/or death in premature infants.
The current lawsuits filed against Abbott and Mead Johnson alleged that they knew or should have known that their cow-based milk infant formulas posed a serious and unreasonable danger to premature infants.
If you believe your baby suffered necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) that resulted in injury or death after being fed baby formula made from cow’s milk, you can contact a baby formula lawyer at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, right away for a free initial case evaluation. If we take on your case, you pay nothing unless we recover money for your family.
Lawsuits Filed Against Enfamil and Similac
NEC baby formula lawsuits filed have alleged that the cow’s milk-based formula caused premature babies to present with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Premature infants have digestive systems that are not fully developed. The lawsuits further allege that premature babies suffered death or long-term serious medical issues after ingesting formulas from Enfamil and Similac.
The plaintiffs allege in their complaint that the defendants’ cow’s milk-based infant feeding products, which were fed to premature infants, caused the babies to develop NEC. The plaintiffs claim the premature infants, who had “underdeveloped digestive systems,” suffered death or long-term health effects after being fed Similac and Enfamil formula.
In recent baby formula lawsuits filed in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois, the plaintiffs claim that both Similac and Enfamil knew the dangers the formula products posed to preterm babies. Additionally, they assert Similac and Enfamil “aggressively marketed” their formulas as being equivalent to breast milk while being fully aware of the risk such products posed to preterm babies.
Recent Studies on the Risk of Toxic Baby Formulas
In 2019, Cochrane – an independent organization that researches the effectiveness of health care through clinical trials – compared the results of feeding a premature infant baby formula versus breast milk. Cochrane’s multiple trials, which involved 1,871 babies, found that feeding premature and low-weight infants with formula nearly doubled their risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis.
These studies have caused multiple lawsuits to be filed against the manufacturers of these formulas who failed to warn the public and healthcare communities about their serious risks of injury and death.
Please note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve infant formulas before they are marketed to the public. However, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA recommended back in 2002 that NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units) no longer use powdered infant formula.
NEC British Medicine Study
The NEC study published in the British Medical Journal on October 14, 2021, suggests that the makers of infant formulas such as Similac funded unreliable and biased clinical product trials. The infant formula trials showed a lack of universal transparency and may have downplayed NEC risks associated with their cow-milk formulas.
What Infant Formulas Are Included in This Lawsuit?
We are currently investigating cases of NEC caused by formula. If you have a premature baby with NEC, specific formulas involved include:
- Similac Special Care 20 (Abbott Nutrition)
- Similac NeoSure (Abbott Nutrition)
- Similac Special Care 24 (Abbott Nutrition)
- Similac Special Care 30 (Abbott Nutrition)
- Similac Special Care 24 – High Protein (Abbott Nutrition)
- Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier (Abbott Nutrition)
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier (Mead Johnson & Company)
- Enfamil NeuroProEnfaCare Infant Formula (Mead Johnson & Company)
- Enfamil 24 Cal Infant Formula (Mead Johnson & Company)
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier (Mead Johnson & Company)
Deadline to File a Claim
Every state in the U.S. has a different deadline for filing a lawsuit. This is known as a statute of limitations. These statutes set a time limit to file your lawsuit so that you recover financial compensation for your damages and losses. Failure to file a lawsuit before the deadline passes may forever prevent you from recovering your losses and damages.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for a product liability claim or defective product claim is 4 years from the date of injury. If the claim includes wrongful death, Florida shortens the time limit to 2 years.
If you believe your child suffered injury or death caused by necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed one of these formulas, contact the infant formula lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, today to make sure your case fits within the time limit.
The restrictions placed by Florida’s statute of limitations can be complicated, so we encourage you to call and speak to an attorney for clarification.
Status of Similac Lawsuits
Litigations involving Similac and the increased NEC risks in premature babies are still in their early stages. More parents are filing new Similac lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories in courts every day. The case mainly asserts that product liability claims against Abbott are based on the strict product liability and negligent failure to warn the public of NEC risks.
As NEC baby formula lawsuits continue to grow daily, all pending Similac lawsuits in federal courts will likely get a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) consolidation. MDL is a mass tort product liability mitigation – like a traditional class action – but the cases remain separate and only consolidated for pretrial discovery.
NEC lawsuits can well be on their way to achieving a global settlement if they become MDLs. They only have to provide good defendant shreds of evidence with high damages caused to the victims. The causes of action in these lawsuits include:
- International misinterpretation
- Negligence misinterpretation
- Breach of warranty
- Wrongful death lawsuits, if the premature baby dies
- Strict product liability for defective products
- Strict liability for the failure to warn against NEC risks
What Settlement Should You Expect from a Similac Lawsuit?
The Similac NEC litigation is still in its early stages because none of the lawsuits have gone to trial or reached a settlement, making it hard to speculate on the potential settlement values of these cases. However, our lawyers can assess other verdicts and settlements in past medical malpractice lawsuits where the primary injury was NEC in a premature infant to gauge how your case will unfold.
The seven most recent malpractice lawsuit settlements for NEC in premature infants were $3.5 million. The average amount of money awarded to the seven cases was $1.3 million. Now, Abbott and Mead are different from nurses and doctors, making the actual value potentially go higher.
We can estimate between $300,000 and $800,000 average settlement values for the Similac NEC lawsuits. However, this estimated amount will depend on the severity of the baby’s injuries.
Baby Formula NEC Lawsuit Lawyers with Experience
No parent should have to worry that the food, medicine, or toys they are giving their child will seriously injure or kill them. This is especially true when a parent is already dealing with a sick and at-risk infant. If a product is intended to provide a benefit, it should do that. It definitely shouldn’t cause unnecessary and avoidable harm.
If your preterm infant was injured or died because of NEC caused by infant formula, you need the help of legal experts who understand what it takes to hold large corporations accountable. If your baby was diagnosed with NEC, we are here to represent you.
These companies are mammoths, and you can bet that they have hundreds of experienced lawyers working for them. But this doesn’t mean they should be able to do whatever they want. It means consumers who were injured due to their negligence deserve justice. The way you get that justice is to level the playing field by hiring your own experienced civil trial lawyer.
Why Choose Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA?
Dolman Law Group is an experienced, award-winning team of lawyers who have extensive experience litigating against companies that sell dangerous products, prescriptions, or medical devices.
In addition to investigating claims regarding NEC to preterm infants caused by cow-based infant formulas, Dolman Law Group has also fought against the dangerous actions of the companies that make Zantac, Risperdal, CPAP Machines, Humira, Mirena, Firefighting Foam, Nuvaring, Talcum Powder, Paraquat, Elmiron, Roundup Weedkiller, and many more.
This means we have taken on some of the biggest companies and corporations in the world, like Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Dupont, Geico, State Farm, Progressive, Dow, Bayer, Unilever, Pfizer, and Procter & Gamble.
To learn more about NEC infant formula lawsuits and how we have become one of the most trusted law firms in America, click here.