Necrotizing enterocolitis in premature newborns because of Similac or Enfamil cow milk-based formula.

Posted in medical device recall on December 17, 2021

Baby Formula NEC Lawsuit Attorneys

Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Tobin Injury Law are investigating claims involving premature born infants who developed necrotizing enterocolitis after being fed Similac or Enfamil cow milk-based formulas. Every newborn is in a delicate stage of development and requires gentle care particularly if that infant is born prematurely.

According to several scientific studies, premature infants have a high risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis when fed cow milk-based formulas like those from Similac and Enfamil.

Children born before thirty-seven completed weeks of gestation are considered premature or preterm. Around 480,000 preterm infants are born in the United States each year, and of those, around 9,000 of them develop necrotizing enterocolitis.

What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?

Necrotizing enterocolitis, or “NEC”, is a disease of the intestine involving infection and inflammation. Unfortunately, NEC can be fatal to premature infants, require surgical intervention, or cause life-long issues in their digestive tract. The risk of NEC dramatically increases in preterm infants who are fed cow milk-based formulas instead of human milk-based diets.

According to the American Society of Nutrition, “NEC affects 5-12% of very-low-birth-weight infants, leads to surgery in 20-40% of cases, and is fatal in 25%-50% of cases.”

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Necrotizing Enterocolitis

NEC symptoms typically occur between three and twelve days after an infant is born, however, it is possible for a baby to develop NEC many weeks after birth. Symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Diarrhea and bloody stool
  • Green or yellow vomit
  • Refusing to eat and lack of weight gain
  • Changes in heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and breathing
  • Lethargy

NEC is considered an emergency condition and healthcare providers should examine an infant, especially a premature infant, for symptoms. Healthcare providers may administer blood tests, fecal tests, or X-rays to determine whether an infant is suffering from NEC.

Treating Necrotizing Enterocolitis

To treat NEC, healthcare providers will stop oral or tube feedings to allow the infant’s intestines to rest and begin giving the infant intravenous (IV) nutrients. Additional steps may be taken such as giving the baby a nasogastric tube that goes into the stomach to suction out gas and fluids and giving the infant antibiotics.

Unfortunately, severe cases of NEC require surgery where a pediatric surgeon will examine the intestines and remove permanently damaged portions. These surgeries can lead to life-long complications for the infant.

What Are the Risks of Cow Milk-Based Formulas for Premature Infants?

In 2011, the United States Surgeon General announced, “for vulnerable premature infants, formula feeding is associated with higher rates of NEC.” Many preterm infants are unable to breastfeed and the use of cow’s milk-based formula for preterm infants significantly increases the risk of NEC. . The American Academy of Pediatrics instructed that, “all preterm infants should be fed either their mother’s milk or, if their mother’s milk is unavailable, pasteurized human donor milk.”

Dr. Elizabeth Cristofalo is a lead investigator out of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center researching the connection between cow’s milk-based formulas and NEC. In an interview with Science Daily, Dr. Cristofalo said, “The stark differences in the risk of NEC, its complications and the need for surgery between babies who receive human donor milk and those who get formula signal the need for a change in feeding practices across neonatal in-tensive care units.”

How Can We Help You If Your Child Was Diagnosed with NEC After Being Given Cow Milk-Based Formula?

Our law firm has litigated all over the country on other pharmaceutical and medical device cases.  We are committed to bringing the manufacturers of cow milk-based formulas to justice. Currently, lawsuits are being filed against Similac and Enfamil around the nation for failing to warn parents, doctors, and nurses of the risks to premature infants from drinking Enfamil and Similac cow milk-based formulas.

If you have a child that was (1) being fed Similac or Enfamil formula, (2) born prematurely, and (3) diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis then we may be able to help.

Abbott Laboratories Inc. produces the following Similac cow milk-based formulas:

  • Similac NeoSure
  • Similac Alimentum Expert Care
  • Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Hydrolyzed Protein Concentrated Liquid
  • Similac Special Care 20
  • Similac Special Care 24
  • Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
  • Similac Special Care 30

Mead Johnson Nutrition produces the following Enfamil cow milk-based formulas:

  • Enfamil NeoPro EnfaCare Infant Formula (Mead Johnson says is the “best” for premature babies)
  • Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 20 Cal with Iron
  • Enfamil 24 Cal Infant Formula
  • Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 24 Cal High Protein
  • Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 24 Cal with Iron
  • Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 30 Cal with Iron
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier

Companies like Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson have profited from hiding the truth from parents and medical professionals for years at the cost of newborns’ health.  We offer free consultations and will be glad to answer your questions.