In recent years, parents of premature babies have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil baby formulas. While common side effects of baby formula can include upset stomach and diarrhea, cow’s milk formula can cause a rare and deadly intestinal disease in premature infants, known as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). These lawsuits allege that they were not made aware of an increased risk of developing this disease as a result of using Similac and Enfamil baby formulas.
If your child developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed Similac or Enfamil baby formulas, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against their manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson. Necrotizing enterocolitis is associated with significant medical costs and, in the most extreme cases, can result in death. At Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC, we understand how difficult this time can be for parents. However, we fully believe in protecting the rights of parents and their children. A baby formula lawsuit can secure the compensation you need to care for your child and help your family move forward. Call today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?
Necrotizing enterocolitis is a severe gastrointestinal problem that presents itself in infants, typically within two to six weeks after birth. NEC inflames the intestinal tissue, causing it to die. This can lead to a hole in the infant’s intestine, causing bacteria to spill int to the abdomen or bloodstream. While it can be mild for some infants, severe cases can be life-threatening and lead to death. It is most common in premature infants. NEC affects approximately 1 in 1,00 premature babies, risk factors include:
- being born before the 37th week of pregnancy
- being fed through a tube in the stomach
- weighing less than 5 1/2 pounds at birth (with infants weighing less than two pounds at the highest risk)
Additionally, premature babies who are fed cow’s milk formula are at a significantly higher risk of developing NEC than those who are not. Studies dating as far back as 1990 have found NEC to be 6 to 10 times more common in premature infants who are fed cow’s milk formula.
Symptoms of Necrotizing Enterocolitis include:
- Abdominal swelling and pain
- Diarrhea with bloody stool
- Yellow or green vomit
- Changes in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and body temperature
- Refusal to eat
- Lack of weight gain
NEC can be diagnosed by healthcare providers through blood tests, fecal tests, and X-ray examinations.
Why are Parents Filing Lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson?
The litigation surrounding Enfamil and Similac is very new and ongoing. In fact, nearly every week a new lawsuit is filed and are currently being consolidated into an MDL (multi-district litigation) in Illinois. MDL’s allow attorneys and plaintiffs to pool resources and boost efficiency in a way that is similar to a class action, while each case can remain separate.
Essentially, these lawsuits all claim the same two things.
- That both Similac and Enfantil are defective products and caused injury – in this case, NEC – to their children.
- That the manufacturers knew the risk and failed to adequately warn parents and patients of these risks.
In cases involving dangerous medications and defective products, the defendants are typically massive corporate entities. Lawsuits, even in MDLs, against companies like Mead Johnson and Abbot Laboratories are extremely complex, expensive, and can be lengthy. For these reasons, it is absolutely in your best interests to speak with an experienced mass tort attorney if you believe you have a case. At Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC, we have been helping those wronged by large companies for over 20 years. We have significant experience handling dangerous drug and defective product cases. If your child was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis and became ill or passed away tragically, we can help you fight for justice. Call as soon as you are ready and we will listen to your story and go over your legal options.