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Risk Factors for Necrotizing Enterocolitis

September 15, 2022 In Baby Formula Lawsuits

There is nothing more terrifying for a new parent than the thought that his or her baby will develop a serious illness. As a parent, you want your child to be healthy and happy. However, infants can be vulnerable to a number of health risks, which is why it is crucial to be aware of possible symptoms.

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is one of the most serious medical conditions that affects newborn babies. This disease affects the intestinal walls and could be fatal without treatment. Certain babies are at a higher risk for NEC, including premature infants, formula-fed babies, and newborns who have had difficult births.

What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?

NEC is a serious disease that occurs when a baby’s intestines become severely inflamed. As a result of this inflammation, the intestinal tissue starts to die. As the disease progresses, the intestine may develop a perforation or hole in the intestinal wall. 

When a baby has advanced NEC, the intestine can no longer hold waste products effectively. As a result, this waste can leak through the hole and into the baby’s abdominal cavity. This can introduce dangerous bacteria into the baby’s bloodstream and lead to an infection.

Symptoms of Necrotizing Enterocolitis

If a baby is diagnosed with NEC early, doctors can help prevent the disease from progressing to a dangerous stage. As such, it is important for parents to keep an eye out for signs of NEC. If you notice anything unusual about your baby, it is critical to take him or her to the hospital immediately.

Symptoms of NEC can vary from infant to infant. Below are some of the most common signs:

  • Pain and swelling in the abdomen
  • Abdominal redness and tenderness
  • Green or yellow vomit
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Blood in the stool
  • Refusal to eat
  • Lack of weight gain
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unstable body temperature
  • Low blood pressure

What Makes a Child More Vulnerable to NEC?

Several factors can increase your child’s risk for NEC. It is important to carefully monitor your child for common symptoms of this condition and seek medical care immediately Some of the risk factors for NEC include premature birth, formula feeding, and birth complications like ischemia.

Premature Birth

A premature baby is defined as an infant who is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. The development of a premature baby is less mature than that of a baby that was born at full term. 

As a result, premature babies can have difficulties with certain functions, such as blood and oxygen circulation. Additionally, premature babies may not be ready to handle dangerous infections or digest food. All of these factors can increase their risk of developing NEC.

Formula Feeding

Babies can either be fed human milk or formula created by manufacturers. However, studies show that premature babies who do not receive human milk are at a much higher risk of developing NEC than other babies. 

This is because human milk is easier to digest than formula, especially for premature infants. Formula may also lack substances that help babies fight infections and strengthen their intestinal cells. As a result, NEC is more likely to occur in formula-fed children.

Birth Complications

Many complications can occur during the labor and delivery process. In some cases, a baby may fail to get enough oxygen to the brain during birth. When this occurs, the body reacts by sending oxygen and blood to the brain and heart, which are critical organs for life. Because of this response, the intestines may fail to get enough blood and the cells may begin to die.

Did Formula Manufacturers Fail to Warn Parents About NEC?

Premature babies can suffer from serious health risks if they exclusively consume formula, including NEC. However, formula manufacturers failed to adequately warn parents and physicians about these complications. As a result, babies have developed serious, sometimes fatal cases of NEC after consuming Enfamil or Similac formula.

Manufacturers Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories had a responsibility to warn parents about the risk of NEC. Because they failed to uphold this duty of care, these entities can be held liable for any damages that the children and their families have suffered. Many parents of babies with NEC are filing lawsuits against the manufacturers for their losses.  

Do You Qualify for a NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit?

If your child was diagnosed with NEC after taking Enfamil or Similac baby formula, you can feel scared and overwhelmed. If you lost your child as a result of this disease, you can feel utterly devastated. In the event that your family finds itself in this situation, you deserve justice. 

By filing a lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories or Mead Johnson, you could hold the entity accountable for the cost of your child’s medical care, disability accommodations, and any pain and suffering that he or she suffered. To qualify for litigation, you must have had a premature infant who developed NEC after consuming a toxic baby formula from one of these companies.

Below are some of the brands of baby formula that have been linked to NEC development in premature babies:

  • Similac Special Care
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier
  • Similac NeoSure
  • Similac Alimentum
  • Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
  • Similac Special Care 20
  • Similac Special Care 24
  • Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
  • Similac Special Care 30
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Acidified Liquid
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Powder
  • Enfacare Powder
  • Enfamil Premature 20 Cal
  • Enfamil Premature 24 Cal
  • Enfamil Premature 30 Cal
  • Enfamil 24 and DHA & ARA Supplement
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Liquid High Protein
  • Enfamil Milk Fortifier Liquid Standard Protein
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare

Speak to an Attorney About Your Child’s NEC Diagnosis

Navigating an NEC baby formula lawsuit can be a challenge. You will need significant scientific evidence and legal support to successfully hold the manufacturer accountable. In these situations, you need a lawyer who specializes in NEC baby formula cases to fight for your right to a fair settlement.

Your attorney can carefully evaluate your family’s situation, calculate your potential settlement, and craft a compelling case for your right to fair recovery. As soon as possible following your child’s diagnosis, contact an NEC baby formula lawsuit attorney to discuss your family’s legal options.