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Is There a Toxic Baby Formula Lawsuit?
Yes. There are several different lawsuits alleging harm from certain types of baby formula.
Extensive research has demonstrated that cow’s milk-based formula can cause NEC, but manufacturers have failed to update their recipes or warning labels to notify parents of the potential danger.
Despite the evidence, these companies allegedly even created ads that claimed their products were safe for premature babies.
Filing a toxic baby formula lawsuit is one of the only ways parents can make these companies face consequences for the harm they caused in the name of profit. These companies make millions of dollars through practices that potentially put children at risk.
Which Baby Formulas Have a Lawsuit?
Enfamil and Similac products are at the basis of these lawsuits because of the correlation between their cow’s milk-based formulas or fortifiers and NEC.
According to one Johns Hopkins Medical Institute study, premature babies fed formula are at a significantly higher risk for dangerous GI (gastrointestinal) conditions like NEC. The same researchers found that babies given their mother’s breast milk mixed with a cow’s milk fortifier are more likely to develop NEC than babies given only human breast milk.
The evidence suggests that low birth weight and premature babies are more likely to develop NEC from being given cow milk-based baby formula because the milk is more difficult to digest. Preterm and very small babies already have slow and developing digestive systems, and the cow’s milk product is hard to digest and can cause infections and injuries that can prove fatal to these infants.
Despite these risks, companies continued to make, market, and sell these products. Worse, some hospitals still use these products in their neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). In those instances, the hospital and the manufacturer may be liable, especially if the parent wasn’t aware of the cow’s milk-based product being given to their child.
So far, the two baby formula manufacturers involved in these lawsuits are Mead Johnson & Company, the manufacturers of Enfamil, and Abbott Laboratories, the makers of Similac.
Enfamil Baby Formula
Enfamil products containing cows’ milk include:
- Enfamil 24 and DHA & ARA Supplement
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Acidified Liquid
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Powder
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Liquid High Protein
- Enfamil Milk Fortifier Liquid Standard Protein
- Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare
- Enfacare Powder
- Enfamil Premature 20 Cal
- Enfamil Premature 24 Cal
- Enfamil Premature 24 Cal/fl oz HP
- Enfamil Premature 30 Cal
If your baby was given any of the products listed above and suffered from GI issues like NEC, you may be able to file an Enfamil lawsuit and seek compensation for the harm this product caused your child.
Similac Baby Formula
Similac products containing cows’ milk include:
- Similac Alimentum
- Similac Alimentum Expert Care
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier Powder
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier Concentrated Liquid
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier Hydrolyzed Protein-Concentrated Liquid
- Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
- Similac NeoSure
- Similac Special Care
- Similac Special Care 20
- Similac Special Care 24
- Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
- Similac Special Care 30
If your premature infant developed NEC or other GI problems after being fed one of these formulas, you may be able to file a Similac lawsuit for compensation.
Has Enfamil or Similac Been Recalled?
Despite the research showing these formulas lead to an increased risk of NEC in premature newborns, there have been no Enfamil or Similac recalls related to this issue.
In February 2022, however, Abbott Laboratories was forced to shut down one of its plants due to suspected bacterial contamination. The company issued a recall of certain batches of products, but the recall was unrelated to the risk of NEC. Instead, the recall was due to the presence of Cronobacter sakazakii, which can lead to infection, especially in infants and the elderly.
Some of the products recalled for possible contamination were also those that included cows’ milk. Any cow-milk formula contaminated with bacteria would pose an especially severe risk to a premature baby with an already-weakened digestive tract.
What Is NEC in Babies?
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious and sometimes fatal infection of the intestines that predominantly affects babies born preterm, usually in the first two weeks of life. Though the causes are unknown, studies have suggested that NEC is likely linked to the use of cow’s milk-based formula to feed preemies and low birth weight babies.
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles observed that “the only consistent observations made in infants who develop NEC are the presence of prematurity and formula feeding.”
Further, the National Library of Medicine has published a study that found preterm infants fed cow’s milk-derived formula, or fortifier were four times more likely to have NEC and more than five times more likely to die from NEC. This finding is supported by other recent studies that show human milk and human milk-derived formulas and fortifiers are far safer for premature babies than cow’s milk-derived products.
NEC Health Effects
NEC is extremely dangerous. Nearly 40% of babies who develop NEC die, and children who survive may have long-term side effects.
According to the Genetic and Rare Disease Institute (GARD), nearly 50% of babies who suffer from NEC will have long-term health complications.
- Brain injuries (such as cerebral palsy or brain bleeds)
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE, a disorder caused by too little oxygen reaching the brain for extended periods)
- Intestinal or bowel perforations
- Intestinal scarring
- Intestinal stricture (scarring within the intestine or bowels creating a narrowing which can lead to blockages)
- Short gut syndrome (also known as short bowel syndrome — the very low absorption of nutrients caused by the removal of large or essential parts of the intestine or bowels)
NEC Treatments in Infants
There are less severe cases of NEC where nonsurgical treatments are effective, and there are no long-term concerns. However, some fully recovered infants can experience bowel scarring that may cause blockages later in life.
Surgery may be necessary if the initial treatment — typically antibiotics and IV feeding — doesn’t help the bacterial infection heal or if the infection makes a hole in the intestinal wall. Babies who have undergone surgery and have had part of their intestinal tissue removed may have trouble absorbing nutrients. In some cases, a bowel transplant may be necessary.
NEC Mortality Rate
An estimated 6 in 10 babies with NEC survive According to the NEC Society
What Are the Symptoms of NEC?
Common NEC symptoms include:
- Bloating or swelling stomach or abdomen
- Bloody stool
- Feedings that stay in the stomach rather than moving through digestion
- Greenish fluid in the stomach or in vomit
- Lethargy (decreased energy, low heart rate, or trouble breathing)
Call your doctor if your infant is showing any of the symptoms listed above. NEC most commonly affects preterm babies, but any infants showing these symptoms may have NEC.
Remember, though, that these symptoms are also associated with many other conditions. It’s essential not to take any chances, but it’s also important not to assume the worst.
If your baby does have NEC as a result of baby formula, you may be able to work with an experienced baby formula lawyer in our network to secure compensation.
How Much Is an NEC Lawsuit Worth?
The value of an NEC baby formula lawsuit varies greatly and depends on the circumstances of each case. The serious health issues and high medical costs associated with NEC may mean that a successful lawsuit could award significant financial compensation.
Our team can help find the right lawyers to fight for you and ensure you get the most compensation possible for your child. Contact us today to get started.
Who Can File a Baby Formula Lawsuit for NEC?
You should get in touch with an attorney who can discuss your case and help determine if you meet the following infant formula lawsuit criteria.
You may have a baby formula case if your child was:
- Born prematurely
- Fed cow’s milk-based formula or milk fortifier
- Diagnosed with NEC, suffered from severe GI problems, or required surgery to treat GI problems following birth
If your child suffered from NEC after being fed Enfamil or Similac baby formula, even if it was years ago, you may still have a claim. You have rights and deserve to be compensated for any suffering your child has endured.
If you’re eligible, our team can connect you with experienced lawyers all over the country who can help you — no out-of-pocket costs to you or your family.
You can contact us for a free case review to learn more about your eligibility.
What Should I Look For in an NEC Baby Formula Lawyer?
Navigating any legal process alone can feel overwhelming. Trying to figure out how to proceed with a lawsuit on top of everything else your family is going through may feel almost impossible to do on your own.
Fortunately, you don’t have to try and handle the complexities of an NEC baby formula lawsuit alone. Not when experienced legal help is only a phone call or free case review away.
Here are a few traits to look for when choosing an NEC lawyer:
- Experience: You should look for a law firm with decades of experience and the resources needed to hold powerful companies like Abbott and Meade accountable.
- Nationwide reach: A great law firm in New York doesn’t do much good if you live in Missouri. You should find a firm with a network of attorneys all over the country, so they can help you wherever you may be.
- No upfront cost: The experienced NEC lawyers in our network only get paid if they secure compensation for you. You shouldn’t have to pay anything upfront to secure justice for your child.
- A track record of success: Nothing else matters if you don’t find the law firm that can win your case. While no outcome is guaranteed, you should look for a firm that’s successfully secured results for clients with similar product liability cases in the past.
We can help you find a baby formula law firm to offer you all the above. Get a free case evaluation today to learn more about your potential legal options.