23 Jun, 2023

Nec Baby Formula Lawsuit

Author Todd A. Strong

A lot is happening around NEC baby formula lawsuits. The litigation is still evolving. So, more developments are set to happen in this field in the future. In this case, the grounds for proving liability are primarily product liability and the failure to warn parents or medics.

In one of the most recent cases (June 2023), a plaintiff born prematurely in April 2003 filed a lawsuit. He showed gastrointestinal distress symptoms after consuming Enfamil Premature 24 formula as an infant. Later, he was diagnosed with NEC, underwent surgery, and still struggles with NEC complications today

Healthcare consultation, insurance and paperwork for medical aid. Concept of NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit
Healthcare consultation, insurance and paperwork for medical aid. Concept of NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit

You can file a lawsuit in Peoria, Illinois if your child develops complications after consuming baby formula made from cow-based milk. Filing an NEC baby formula lawsuit is the path hundreds of parents have used to seek justice. This lawsuit compels a manufacturer to compensate for the personal injuries caused by their negligence.

What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?

Necrotizing Enterocolitis, abbreviated as NEC, is a common gastrointestinal complication in newborn infants. It is characterized by the inflammation of the intestinal tissue lining due to bacterial infestation. It affects digestion and causes bloating, discoloration, and swelling in the stomach. It can also cause diarrhea.

Usually, newborns develop NEC when aged between two and six weeks old. The condition starts as mild, but can worsen without notice. It gets deadly when the intestines develop perforations, causing bacteria leakage into the abdomen or bloodstream. At this point, NEC should be treated as life-threatening.

NEC comes with severe pain. Due to its life-threatening nature, it is critical to ensure your baby's condition is stable before you do anything else. Once that is done, the next step should be filing an NEC formula baby lawsuit.

Types of NEC

NEC falls into four main categories based on when the symptoms start and their potential causes. They include:

Classic 

Classic NEC is the most common type of NEC, occurring between three and six weeks after birth. It is typically mild, and infants might seem stable. The symptoms might, however, worsen if action is not taken in good time.

Transfusion-Associated 

Anemia, a typical infant condition, can require a blood transfusion. However, about 1–3 infants develop NEC about three days after getting a blood transfusion.

Atypical

Infants can also develop NEC before feeding for the first time or within the first week of life.

Term Infant 

Full-term babies born with defects can also develop NEC. This category of NEC occurs due to low oxygen levels at birth, congenital heart conditions, and gastroschisis.

What Causes NEC?

Infants develop NEC when they consume cow’s milk-based formula rather than feeding on human breast milk. Weaker immune systems, weaker digestive systems, and diminished flow of oxygen-carrying blood make it easy for bacteria in the formula to thrive and multiply in the infant’s intestines. It then damages intestinal tissue, making infants susceptible to various health issues. Their weak immune systems do not make fighting these infections any easier. 

Symptoms of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)

Knowing the symptoms of Necrotizing Enterocolitis will help you diagnose and treat NEC early enough. Symptoms of NEC include abdominal pain and swelling, blood and heart pressure changes, unstable body temperatures, blood in stool, inadequate weight gain, and bile-colored vomit.

How Dangerous Can NEC Get?

NEC can be dangerous depending on how parents handle it after diagnosis. Fortunately, you can manage it with the right treatment. It can only turn fatal if parents fail to seek treatment or medical professionals do not provide the necessary care. If treated, infants can fully recover without further complications.

The mortality rates for infants affected by NEC depend on various factors. For instance, an infant's weight at birth can determine how long the infant will live. Usually, the mortality rate for infants weighing 5.5 lbs stands at 20%. However, the rate is 50% for infants weighing 3.3 lbs or less.

Is NEC Preventable and Treatable?

NEC is both preventable and treatable. 

NEC Prevention

The best way to avoid NEC is by giving babies formulas not made from cow milk. Some alternatives to consider when looking to prevent NEC include human milk fortifiers. However, to get the best results, you can partner with a professional nutritionist who will develop a healthy nutrition plan for your infant.

NEC Treatment

The treatment options for NEC depend on the severity of the condition. However, the first option to consider is the immediate discontinuation of oral feeding, especially of baby formulas. Then, the baby should get checked, and strong antibiotics should get administered immediately.

Another popular treatment option for NEC is nasogastric drainage. It is administered together with circulatory support to be more effective. Surgery is the best option in more severe cases with dead intestinal tissue. However, complications like short gut syndrome might result from surgeries.

Ensuring that your baby gets proper medical attention before filing a lawsuit is vital. Only after your baby gets stable should you start seeking compensation. A Peoria product liability lawyer can walk you through the steps of recovering compensation from the manufacturer of the defective baby formula.

How Are Baby Formulas Linked to NEC?

Infants, especially those born prematurely, require high nutrition levels for proper growth. Their development depends on the nutrients they get from breast milk. However, most infants born prematurely cannot breastfeed properly. This makes their parents and healthcare providers consider giving them baby formulas.

There are various baby formulas, brands, and products to consider. Similac and Enfamil are among the popular brands. However, many lawsuits have linked these brands to NEC in infants. Numerous studies have also established a direct causative link between the consumption of these cow’s milk-based formulas and NEC in infants. 

The popular Enfamil formulas linked to NEC include Enfamil Enfacare Powder, Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier, Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare, and Enfamil Premature. The popular Similac baby formulas linked to NEC include Similac Alimentum Expert Care, Similac Human Milk Fortifier, Similac NeoSure, and Similac Special Care.

Surprisingly, the responsible manufacturers have not recalled these products for causing NEC. Only a few stores have removed them from their shelves.

Infants are still at risk of getting NEC as long as baby formulas are on the market. Luckily, you can bring an NEC baby formula lawsuit against the liable manufacturer if your baby has been diagnosed with NEC. You can also pursue compensation if your child has recovered from the disease but struggle with its complications.

Who Qualifies for an NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit?

You might have grounds for an NEC baby formula lawsuit if: 

  • Your baby was born prematurely; 
  • The baby received Similac or Enfamil while still at a health facility; and
  • The baby got diagnosed with NEC symptoms.

However, your infant does not have to be diagnosed with NEC to be eligible to file this suit. You can file a claim if the infant develops an illness or dies after taking the baby formula. In this scenario, a lawyer can assess the facts and unique circumstances of the case to determine if you have valid grounds for a lawsuit against the defective baby formula manufacturer.

How Long Do I Have to File an NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit in Peoria, Illinois?

Different laws govern how people file lawsuits in every state. You should strictly follow these laws to ensure your lawsuit succeeds. You must be keen on filing your lawsuit in good time, depending on the laws in your state. But then, how long do you have to sue someone for personal injury in Illinois?

You will have two years to file an NEC baby formula lawsuit in Illinois. This consideration also applies to other lawsuits that cause personal injuries. You file lawsuits against the person or entity you believe caused the personal injury. Since you need your case heard and concluded, file it in time to get the best results.

The two-year period can change for various reasons. For instance, if the formula got administered incorrectly, it is medical malpractice. The impact of incorrect administration of baby formula will not become obvious immediately. As such, the “timer” for the two-year statute of limitation will not start immediately after the event. Instead, the time limit begins when you notice the injury, when you should have noticed it, or when you receive the notice of injury.

Filing a lawsuit after the expiry of this deadline can affect your chances of getting compensated. The defendant can request the court to dismiss the lawsuit if you miss the filing deadline. Also, you risk losing settlement negotiations with the defendant once the two-year deadline elapses.

Compensation in Baby Formula Lawsuits

Filing a lawsuit with the help of an attorney will help you get the desired financial compensation. The compensation amount you will get depends on the unique circumstances of your case. 

The potential compensation you can receive from these lawsuits will cover:

  • Medical bills arising from diagnostic tests, hospital stays, and therapies.
  • The cost of 24/7 care, monitoring, and feeding.
  • Other health expenses.
  • Funeral and burial costs in case of a death.

What is a reasonable settlement offer in a personal injury case, especially for NEC lawsuits? It all depends on the strength of your case and the evidence your lawyer tables. So, having a lawyer who has successfully represented product liability claimants can help maximize your compensation.

Who's Liable in an NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit?

An NEC baby formula lawsuit has two potentially liable parties. The first liable party is the manufacturer that knew the risk of the defective baby formulas causing NEC in infants but failed to provide adequate warning. 

Mead Johnson Nutrition and Abbott Laboratories, the manufacturers of Enfamil and Similac brand baby formulas, are the two main defendants in NEC lawsuits. These manufacturers face the following allegations: 

  • Cow’s milk-based formulas like Similac and Enfamil expose premature infants to a higher risk of NEC diagnosis. 
  • Manufacturers of these toxic baby formulas have invested heavily in marketing their products to parents of premature infants. Most adverts urge parents to feed their babies bovine formula instead of breast milk. 
  • These formulas have unclear warning labels. The labels also lack information about the potential risks for NEC in babies. 
  • Similac and Enfamil brands claim their human milk fortifiers are made from human breast milk ingredients, while they are actually manufactured using cow’s milk ingredients. 
  • Manufacturers of these defective formulas continue to advertise and sell their products to parents and medical practitioners across the U.S., despite knowing the dangers of their products. 

The other potentially liable party is the healthcare provider who fed your baby a toxic baby formula without disclosing to you the possible risks to the baby. This negligence is sufficient grounds for a medical malpractice suit against that healthcare provider. 

What Are the Latest Updates on NEC Baby Formula Lawsuits?

A lot is happening around NEC baby formula lawsuits. The litigation is still evolving. So, more developments are set to happen in this field in the future. In this case, the grounds for proving liability are primarily product liability and the failure to warn parents or medics.

In one of the most recent cases (June 2023), a plaintiff born prematurely in April 2003 filed a lawsuit. He showed gastrointestinal distress symptoms after consuming Enfamil Premature 24 formula as an infant. Later, he was diagnosed with NEC, underwent surgery, and still struggles with NEC complications today.

NEC baby formula lawsuits keep coming in different courts across the nation. A class action MDL (multidistrict litigation) is now set up in Illinois to handle all pending lawsuits in federal courts. Also, all pending state court cases will get consolidated into one in Madison County to simplify the process.

Do You Need an Attorney for Your NEC Baby Formula Claim?

A lawyer is a valuable asset in the process of seeking compensation for injuries and other losses arising from defective baby formula. The lawyer will add value to the lawsuit process by analyzing the circumstances of your case. The lawyer will help you gather all the evidence you need to prove liability and win the lawsuit.

In addition, a personal injury attorney will come up with a good argument in court. Remember, the defendant will also have an attorney helping prove their innocence. Your attorney can help you build a strong argument to convince the court to rule in your favor and award reasonable compensation. 

About The Author

author-bio-image
Personal Injury Lawyer Todd A. Strong Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.
Years of Experience: More than 20 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State, 1994
U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, 1994
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 2022
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, 2023
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About The Author

author-bio-image
Personal Injury Lawyer Todd A. Strong Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.
Years of Experience: More than 20 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State, 1994
U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, 1994
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 2022
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, 2023