Lawsuits Allege Similac, Enfamil Infant Formula Can Cause Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Premature Babies
Last Updated on October 20, 2021
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Anyone whose premature baby developed necrotizing enterocolitis after being fed cow’s milk-based Similac or Enfamil baby formulas or fortifiers.
- What’s Going On?
- Lawsuits are being filed claiming that the makers of certain Similac and Enfamil infant formula products failed to warn healthcare providers and caregivers that ingesting cow’s milk-based formulas can cause premature babies to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). NEC is a dangerous and potentially fatal gastrointestinal disease.
- How Could a Lawsuit Help?
- A lawsuit could help parents whose children developed the disease recover money for pain and suffering, loss of life’s enjoyment, the costs of medical care, funeral expenses and more.
- What You Can Do
- Fill out the form on this page to find out more about what’s involved with filing a lawsuit. Attorneys working with ClassAction.org may reach out to you directly to help determine whether legal action is a viable option for you.
- Does This Cost Money?
- It doesn’t cost anything to speak with an attorney we work with, and you’re under no obligation to take legal action just because you talked to someone about your rights.
If your premature baby developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed cow’s milk-based Similac or Enfamil products, you may be able to take legal action.
Lawsuits are now being filed that claim two makers of baby formula products, Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories, knew and failed to warn hospitals, doctors and caregivers that their cow’s milk-based infant formulas can significantly increase the risk that premature babies will develop potentially fatal NEC.
In fact, it’s been alleged that the companies ignored well-established scientific evidence that cow’s milk-based formulas are linked to NEC and went so far as to market their Similac and Enfamil baby formula products as superior to safer alternatives such as breast milk.
For more information about how to take legal action against these companies, fill out the form on this page.
An attorney working with ClassAction.org may reach out to you directly to answer your questions and help determine whether you can file a lawsuit.
Baby Formula and NEC: What’s the Link?
While the cause of necrotizing enterocolitis is not completely understood, medical experts agree that feeding infant formula to premature babies increases their risk of developing the disease while human breast milk decreases this risk.
It’s believed that the digestion of infant formula made with cow’s milk can damage the lining of a premature baby’s intestines, which in turn causes the cells to die and can lead to a hole in the intestinal wall.
In normally functioning intestines, cells lining the “lumen” of the organ absorb nutrients and release them to the rest of the body through the bloodstream and lymphatic system.
The tight juncture between these cells keeps bacteria and toxins from escaping into the other parts of the body while allowing the nutrients to flow through. It’s believed that ingesting cow’s milk products can cause a breakdown of these junctures that allows bacteria to invade the intestinal wall, causing an inflammatory response that can eventually lead to a rupture of the intestine, widespread infection (sepsis) and death.
Research has shown that significantly higher rates of necrotizing enterocolitis have been found in premature babies with very low birth weights who were fed cow’s milk-based formula or fortifier products over those who were fed exclusively with human breast milk.
Which Infant Formula Products Are Involved in the Lawsuits?
Attorneys want to speak with anyone whose baby developed NEC after being fed cow’s milk-based Similac or Enfamil formulas, including but not limited to the following:
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier
- Enfacare Powder
- Similac Special Care
- Similac Special Care High Protein
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier
- Similac Neosure
- Similac Alimentum
What’s Involved in Filing a Lawsuit Over Infant Formula?
Before a lawsuit can be filed, your attorney will need to collect information to support your claim that the Similac or Enfamil baby formula or fortifier product was responsible for your baby’s necrotizing enterocolitis. You may be asked to provide medical records, receipts or other documents and answer questions about the effect your child’s injury or death has had on your life.
Once your attorney has gathered enough information, he or she will draft a “complaint,” or a legal document filed with the court that will detail the injuries you’ve suffered, the damages (i.e., losses) you’re seeking and why the company or companies you’re suing should be held accountable for the injury or death.
For instance, your complaint may allege that Mead or Abbott:
- Manufactured baby formula products that were unsafe when used as intended
- Failed to include warnings on the products’ labels about the risks associated with feeding cow’s milk products to premature infants
- Failed to provide information about the safety of human breast milk and the dangers associated with cow’s milk products to allow parents to make an informed choice
- Failed to provide proper instructions for how the formula should be used to decrease the risk of NEC
- Failed to warn doctors and healthcare providers about the risks associated with feeding cow’s milk-based formulas to premature babies
- Failed to change its formulas once the risks were known
- Failed to prevent its products from being used by premature infants
- Misrepresented the safety and dangers of its infant formulas
- Failed to inform doctors and healthcare providers that these Similac or Enfamil products are not necessary for a premature baby’s growth and nutritional needs
Once the lawsuit is filed, your attorney will engage with the attorneys representing the defendants (i.e., the companies being sued) and the court in an attempt to resolve the matter. This process may include exchanging documents; taking depositions; filing motions, briefs and other documents with the court; consulting with experts; issuing subpoenas; and attending hearings. If the attorneys cannot agree on a settlement and the judge does not dismiss the case, your lawsuit will proceed to a jury trial.
Is This a Class Action Lawsuit?
No. Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are handling these lawsuits on an individual basis instead of as a class action. That means you will need to file your own individual lawsuit and be represented by your own attorney. To find out why most cases involving serious injury or death are handled individually instead of as class actions, visit this page.
What You Can Do
If you’re interested in taking legal action against the makers of Similac or Enfamil formulas, fill out the form on this page.
Once you reach out, an attorney may contact you directly to answer your questions and help determine whether you can file a lawsuit.
Remember, it’s free to speak with an attorney working with ClassAction.org, and you’re not obligated to take legal action just because you talked to someone about your rights.
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