NEC Lawsuit Attorneys

Use of some baby formulas linked to Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) 

Premature babies or low-birth-weight newborns often struggle to breastfeed or require supplemental nutrition to help them grow strong, gain weight, and battle potential health risks. Sometimes parents supplement breastmilk with milk-based formulas like Similac or Enfamil. Evidence suggests, however, that Similac and Enfamil can cause Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), a life-threatening condition that has been linked to cow’s milk-based formula in premature infants.

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What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis? 

NEC is a serious and potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal disorder. NEC develops when harmful bacteria grow within the infant’s intestinal wall. The bacteria can inflame the intestines and cause the tissue to die. It can also cause holes in the intestinal wall that allow bacteria to leak into the baby’s abdomen. This can result in lifelong complications or even death.

Common Complications of NEC may include: 

  • Sepsis
  • Organ failure
  • Gastrointestinal perforation (holes in the intestinal wall)
  • Peritonitis (an abdominal infection, inflammation)
  • Narrowing of the intestines
  • Short bowel syndrome, which makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients
  • Failure to thrive
  • Liver problems
  • Death

Symptoms of NEC include, but aren’t limited to:   

  • Low body temperature
  • Swollen, red, or tender abdomen
  • Lethargy
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomit (often containing bile)
  • Trouble feeding
  • Low blood pressure
  • Digestive issues
  • Slow heart rate
  • Trouble breathing or pauses in breathing

How is NEC Diagnosed?

Necrotizing enterocolitis may be diagnosed when a doctor does a physical examination. During an exam, the doctor may feel for swelling, pain, or tenderness in the infant’s abdomen. Many times, abdominal imaging is performed that allows doctors to look for inflammation or other damage. The doctor may also order blood tests to measure the baby’s platelet levels and white blood cell count. Low platelet levels or a high white blood cell count can be a sign of NEC. Additionally, the doctor may also insert a needle into the baby’s abdominal cavity to look for fluid. Intestinal fluid may mean there is a hole in the intestines.

How is Necrotizing Enterocolitis Treated?

If your baby is diagnosed with NEC, the treatment can vary depending on the infant’s age, the extent of the damages, and the overall health of the baby. Most of the time, the baby will receive fluids and nutrients through an IV. Doctors will also likely prescribe antibiotics to help fight the infection. Other treatments may include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Breathing assistance/supplemental oxygen
  • Surgery to repair holes in the intestines or to remove damaged sections of tissue
  • X-rays or other imaging
  • Blood tests
  • Various medications as needed

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How Can an Attorney Help Me?

Scientific studies, including this 2019 study, have linked the use of cow’s milk-based formulas to NEC in premature and underweight newborns. The manufacturers of these formulas, Abbot Laboratories (Similac) and Mead Johnson & Company (Enfamil), failed to warn consumers and physicians of the potential dangers associated with cow’s milk-based formulas and the risk of NEC in premature and underweight infants.  

The product liability attorneys at BBGA have extensive experience litigating cases against major manufacturers and national corporations when their products cause harm to consumers.

Learn more about some of the cases we handle and the process of filing a product liability claim.

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No one should have to fear for the safety of their newborn because of baby formula. BBGA’s experienced product liability attorneys seek to hold the manufacturers accountable for their failure to properly warn parents and medical providers that their product could significantly increase the risk of NEC and death in premature infants. If NEC caused injury to your child, you have the right to seek financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and the pain and suffering of your child and your family.

We can help establish that the cow’s milk formula was the cause of your infant’s NEC diagnosis and hold the manufacturer responsible. When a child dies from NEC, it may be appropriate to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

We take cases in Georgia and across the U.S.

Fill out our free case review or call us at 706-354-4000 to tell us more about your potential case.  

Was your infant diagnosed with NEC because of formula? If so, simply submit the short form below to speak with an experienced defective product lawyer from BBGA about your case.