Premature babies are at higher risk for several health conditions because of their underdeveloped immune systems. One of these diseases is necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a rare intestinal condition that inflames the tissue in the large intestine. Infants hospitalized in neonatal intensive care units are often given cow’s milk-based baby formula such as Enfamil or Similac. Parents may not realize that cow’s milk formula may increase the chances of a premature infant developing NEC. One study found that babies fed such formula are up to ten times more likely to develop NEC. While it is unclear why the disease is more common in formula-fed preemies, one of many theories holds that formula contains unbounded fatty free acids that can be toxic to intestinal cells. There are likely other elements of cow’s milk-based baby formula which may contribute to a higher incidence of NEC.
NEC can cause devastating long-term health impacts. Some babies recover after being treated with antibiotics, while others will need surgery to remove parts of the intestine. Tragically, not all children are fortunate enough to recover, as the disease has a mortality rate of up to 50%. While NEC isn’t entirely preventable, feeding premature babies breast milk decreases the risk, yet baby formula manufacturers advertise their products as equivalent to human milk. Families are filing necrotizing enterocolitis baby formula lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson, who each manufacture the world’s most popular infant formulas. The lawsuits have been consolidated into multi-district litigation (MDL), and the court recently selected several bellwether cases for trial.
If your child was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis after consuming baby formula, you should contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options. You may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, ongoing medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For a free case evaluation, contact Saddle Rock Legal Group today.