Parents have filed lawsuits against formula manufacturers Abbot Laboratories (Similac) and Mead Johnson (Enfamil), alleging their premature infants consumed their cow’s milk products and developed (NEC) or Necrotizing enterocolitis. NEC is a serious disease that affects the intestines of premature infants. It typically happens within the first two weeks of life in babies fed cow’s milk formula instead of breast milk.
NEC has led to infections and death in premature infants resulting from inflammation which causes holes in the intestinal wall.
As this happens, the intestine can no longer hold waste, so the bacteria may pass into the bloodstream and cause infection. Waste can also pass into the abdomen, making the baby extremely sick. If the intestine injury is severe and sections of it have died, doctors may need to remove those sections of the intestines.
Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) Symptoms in Infants
NEC has been found in babies born prematurely and given cow’s milk-based formulas. NEC can be fatal if not diagnosed quickly, and due to the high mortality rate in infants diagnosed with NEC, it is crucial to know the signs and symptoms. The quicker the symptoms are recognized and treated; the better the infant’s chances are for recovery.
Signs and Symptoms of NEC in Babies May Include:
- abdominal pain and swelling
- diarrhea with bloody stool
- Decreased activity
- Greenish-colored vomit
- Poor feeding and lack of weight gain
- Temperature instability
If you observe these signs in an infant, seek medical attention immediately.
Why Are Parents Suing?
Parents of infants who died or became seriously ill with NEC due to ingesting Abbott labs and Mead Johnson bovine-based formulas are filing lawsuits against the two companies. They allege that Mead Johnson and Abbott labs knew or should have known that their products could cause NEC in premature infants.
Lawsuits filed by parents across the US are alleging the baby formula manufacturers Similac and Mead Johnson knew or should have known that their products could cause NEC necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants. A study as far back as 1990 in The Lancet showed that
“926 preterm infants formally assigned to their early diet; necrotizing enterocolitis developed in 51 or (5.5%). Mortality was 26% in stringently confirmed cases. In exclusively formula-fed babies, the confirmed disease was 6-10 times more common than in those fed breast milk alone” (Lucas, A. 1990).
NEC Lawsuits Claims Against Formula Manufacturers
- Mead Johnson and Abbott Labs produced bovine-based formulas with no labels suggesting any risk of NEC to low birth weight or premature infants.
- Plaintiffs allege numerous studies since the 1990s have shown the risk of NEC among premature infants who ingest their bovine-milk-based products.
- Labels never mention an increased risk of intestinal issues or NEC when consuming their products.
- It is alleged that the defendants knew the risks of their products and the increased risk of NEC, yet they never changed the labels, warnings, instructions, or released any information related to NEC and their products.
- Mead Johnson and Abbott Labs marketed and advertised their cow’s milk-based products as safe, medically endorsed by physicians as a safe alternative, and nutritional equivalent to breast milk.
The lawsuits allege that both companies were aware of the risk of NEC to premature infants when given their bovine-based products. Although they knew they continued selling their products without warnings and promoted them as a safe alternative to breast milk. Corporations must communicate safety issues with their products, and a failure to alert consumers of known risks can be a case of corporate negligence.
Who Can File a Lawsuit?
If your child was diagnosed with NEC and it resulted in medical issues such as stomach and intestinal problems or death, you may be able to file a lawsuit against Mead Johnson or Abbott Labs if your child:
- Born prematurely
- Given cow’s milk formula or milk fortifier
- Diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and suffered from stomach or intestinal issues, needed surgery to correct the problems associated with the NEC diagnosis.
- NEC resulted in the death of your baby
Contact Experienced Attorneys
The NEC baby formula lawsuits against Mead Johnson and Abbott Labs will focus on proving that the infants developed NEC because of ingesting cow’s milk-based formulas. Although both companies have denied any wrongdoing, expert witnesses such as doctors and researchers can discuss studies and medical evidence that link premature infants taking cow milk-based formula and developing NEC. Due to the complex medical issues associated with these cases, you need an attorney who is experienced in dealing with product liability cases who will pursue damages on your behalf that include pain and suffering, medical bills, and loss of enjoyment of life.
We understand that dealing with a sick child can take an emotional and financial toll on any family, but you may be entitled to pursue legal action. If your child has passed away from necrotizing enterocolitis resulting from cows’ milk-based formula a wrongful death claim may be pursued in court. Contacting our attorneys soon is important to file a claim because there are time requirements for filing claims, and you must meet the requirements to file a claim.
Contact Charles Boyk Law
If you believe your child developed NEC because of a cow-milk-based formula, call our NEC baby formula and product liability lawyers at Charles Boyk Law. Our attorneys will provide a free consultation of your case and we are on a contingent fee basis which means if we take your case, we do not receive anything from you unless we recover money by settlement or verdict.