What You Should Know About NEC Baby Formula Lawsuits
Recent data has revealed that baby formula made from Bovine-based products places premature babies at a risk of 6 to 10 times more likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) as opposed to newborns who are given either breast or human milk. Formula is often provided to prematurely born babies in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) or hospital that leads to this condition. The Long Island attorneys at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe are here to help you understand some important details to consider about NEC Baby Formula lawsuits.
The Danger of NEC
NEC is an adverse medical condition that results in things like abdominal infection, intestinal infection, intestinal perforation, difficulty eating or gaining, and in the worst cases, death. Data reveals that 30% of premature NICU deaths result from NEC. Tragically, the condition can occur after newborns are provided either Enfamil or Similac baby formula.
NEC occurs when unhealthy bacteria infiltrate the intestinal walls, which leads to intestinal segments becoming inflamed or even dying. If it is not adequately treated, NEC can result in intestinal tissues dying as well as the perforation of the intestines which consequently lets bacteria seep into the bloodstream or stomach. Often, NEC advances quickly from difficulty with the appetite to life-threatening conditions like sepsis.
The condition is traditionally diagnosed through either blood tests or x-rays. Sometimes, surgery is required to extract dead tissue. Antibiotics are often used to treat the condition.
Data Linking Certain Baby Formulas to NEC
Data shows that Enfamil and Similac as well as other bovine-based formulas can substantially increase the chances that a newborn will end up facing NEC. Similac and Enfamil contain bovine milk from which certain proteins, which are known to trigger allergies, are removed. When this formula is provided to either low weight or premature weight babies, the formulas can cause NEC to develop at a much greater rate than that associated with breast milk.
Years of research have drawn a connection between baby formula and NEC in newborns. Despite this connection, Enfamil and Similar lack warnings about NEC or other potential hazards associated with the products. In 1990, a study appeared in The Lancet that found an NEC diagnosis due to baby formula is 6 to 10 times more likely to occur if babies are fed cow rather than breast milk.
Due to the dangers associated with Enfamil and Similar, an increasing number of health experts including the U.S. Surgeon General are urging that premature infants be given either breast milk or pasteurized human donor milk.
The Lawsuit Addressing NEC Caused by Baby Formula
Product liability as well as wrongful death lawsuits are currently being pursued by the families of newborns diagnosed with NEC after being given either Enfamil or Similac. Despite studies suggesting the dangers of both formulas, manufacturers continued to make them available and promote the products as safe.
Enfamil lawsuits have been initiated against the Mead Johnson Nutrition Company for newborns who developed NEC after taking any of the following products:
- NeoPro EnfaCare Infant Formula
- Premature Infant Formula 24 Cal High Protein
- Premature Infant Formula 20, 24, 30 Cal with Iron
- Enfamil 24 Cal Infant Formula
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier
Similac baby formula lawsuits have been brought against Abbott Laboratories for newborns who have been diagnosed with NEC after taking one of the following products:
- Similac Alimentum Expert Care
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier and Hydrolyzed Protein Concentrated Liquid
- Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
- Similac NeoSure
- Similac Special Care 20, 24, 24 High Protein, and 30
While the first lawsuits addressing NEC caused by baby formula remain in the early part of litigation, a countless number of product liability lawyers are beginning to investigate the scenarios that led to injuries and deaths. Currently, there have not been any recalls due to the dangers presented by these formulas.
The Basis of Baby Formula Lawsuits
These lawsuits argue that the manufacturers of Enfamil as well as Similac had a duty to sufficiently research their formula and share with others the dangers presented by the product so an informed choice could be made about what was safest to give newborns. Some of the allegations brought up in NEC lawsuits suggest:
- Enfamil and Similac formula greatly increases the risk that premature newborns will end up developing NEC
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier and Human Milk Fortifier were introduced and misleadingly suggested they were made from a safer source when in actuality they were products derived from cow’s milk which is known to increase the risk of NEC
- Despite the risk of NEC poised by the products, Enfamil and Similac were sold to many unsuspecting families and generated substantial profits for the manufacturers
- A large amount of money was spent marketing Enfamil and Similac to new mothers, which discouraged many mothers from breastfeeding their newborns
- Warnings on the formula are broad and do not sufficiently discuss the risk of NEC
How Much You Can Expect to Receive From an NEC Formula Lawsuit?
The amount of compensation that you can expect to receive from an NEC formula lawsuit depends on the amount of damages that a jury awards if your case proceeds to trial. The exact amount that each family receives will depend on the strength of the evidence connecting the diagnosis to the use of Enfamil or Similac formulas as well as the results of the injury.
Similar elements to what a jury would analyze if an NEC formula lawsuit proceeded to trial will also influence the amount of compensation that families can expect from a lawsuit involving NEC. Some of the factors include:
- The cost of past as well as future medical expenses due to the injury or death
- The duration of the injury
- The emotional impact the injury or death had on the family
- The mental anguish and pain the family faced due to NEC
- The severity of the injury
- What side effects the baby faced as a result of NEC
How Long Could it Take to Resolve Your Case?
Currently, no mass lawsuit exists for Enfamil or Similac. Consequently, it is difficult at the moment to anticipate how long it would take a case to resolve. Often, in mass tort litigation, however, cases take several years before a manufacturer agrees to begin resolving cases. Prior settlements are just a suggestion of how long NEC formula lawsuits to resolve.
As more people who have had their lives disrupted due to newborn injuries or fatalities or caused by Enfamil or Similac formulas pursue compensation, however, manufacturers will feel an increased amount of pressure to settle cases, which could speed up how long it takes for matters to conclude.
Contact a Long Island Product Liability Attorney
If your child has been diagnosed with NEC after receiving baby formula, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation.
For a free legal consultation with a lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-358-6900