What is NEC from Baby Formula?

The joy of bringing a new baby into the world can sometimes turn to despair in sudden ways. Parents across the country have reported cases of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in their infants after acts as simple as feeding them baby formula from popular store brands such as Similac and Enfamil. NEC is a serious, sometimes fatal gastrointestinal condition that can interfere with feeding and require surgery.

Many parents have taken the step of filing personal injury and product liability lawsuits against formula manufacturers. They allege that the formulas’ makeup is to blame for their children’s illnesses. Lawsuits are pending in various jurisdictions against numerous brands, including Gerber Good Start and Biostime.

What is NEC, and why has it led to litigation? What should parents know if their children have been diagnosed with it? Our De Castroverde Law Group attorneys have written this overview to help you understand the issues and decide whether to pursue a personal injury or product liability litigation against formula makers.

Request a Free Case Evaluation

What Is NEC?

NEC caused by baby formula

NEC occurs most commonly in premature infants. It manifests through symptoms such as feeding problems, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. In extreme cases, it can result in infections or even death. NEC, in essence, inflames the intestines, interfering with their normal functions and potentially causing the tissues to die altogether.

Researchers do not have a definitive answer for the cause of NEC but believe it could have connections to prematurity and certain bacterial infections, in addition to the claims involving baby formula. Consult your pediatrician if you suspect your baby’s suffering from NEC. Children with NEC may need antibiotics or intravenous fluids or undergo surgery. Early detection is crucial to arrest the progress of the disease.

Are Parents Alleging That Formula Causes NEC?

In general, the answer is no. Rather than alleging a product defect, many existing lawsuits contend that the companies that make the formulas failed to include warnings on product packaging or in product inserts to inform customers of the potential risks.

These allegations are partly based on academic studies suggesting that babies fed cow’s milk formula are at greater risk of NEC than breastfed babies. Those studies appeared in publications such as the Journal of Pediatrics and Neonatology.

For example, one case filed in federal court in California states that “cow’s milk-based products were believed to be good for the growth of premature, low birth weight babies; however, science and research have advanced for decades confirming the significant dangers of the Defendants’ cow’s milk-based products in causing Necrotizing Enterocolitis (“NEC”) and/or substantially contributing to death in preterm and severely preterm, low-weight infants, along with many other health complications and long-term risks to babies, yet, the Defendants did nothing to change their product, packaging, guidelines, instructions, and/or warnings.”

Citing a study published in the medical journal Lancet, the same case contends: “As early as 1990, a prospective, multicenter study on 926 preterm infants found that NEC was six to ten times more common in exclusively formula-fed babies than in those fed breast milk alone and three times more common than in those who received formula plus breast milk.”

How Do You Qualify for an NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit?

You may be eligible to file or join an NEC baby formula lawsuit if your child comes down with NEC after consuming certain brands, such as Similac or Enfamil. You and your attorneys would have the burden of presenting evidence linking the NEC diagnosis directly to the consumption of the baby formula. It is a challenging road.

More broadly, determining whether you qualify as a plaintiff can be complicated on a legal basis. Eligibility can vary based on the details of the case and the court that hears the matter. Don’t pre-judge the question one way or another. Our personal injury lawyers at De Castroverde Law Group can help evaluate the circumstances of your baby’s illness against other facts and evidence so you can decide on a proper legal strategy. Our team has extensive experience in a full range of personal injury and product liability cases and will work hard to get your family compensated.

What Damages Can My Family Recover?

Every case is different, so your attorneys will work with you to structure a proper claim for compensation based on the facts and evidence of what happened to your infant and the impact on your family. In general, plaintiffs in NEC baby formula lawsuits may be able to request damages similar to those available in personal injury and product liability cases.

These fall into three categories. The most straightforward is economic damages, which represent compensation for the costs of medical care, such as hospital stays, surgery, doctor visits, and prescriptions. You may also be able to request intangible non-economic damages, which are claims for compensation for pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Finally, depending on the case facts, you may be able to seek punitive damages if you develop evidence that can establish the manufacturers acted with malice. Punitive damages tend to send a message to other companies.

Answers to these and more general questions about NEC baby formula cases should be more than guesswork. If your infant has suffered from NEC, consult with an experienced personal injury or products liability attorney. They will examine the facts and evidence, review the law, and help you determine your best next steps.

Personal Injury and Products Liability Experience at De Castroverde Law Group

Our firm, a personal injury, products liability, and car accident law practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, understands the agony of seeing your child suffer. We represent victims in accidents of all types, including slip-and-falls and product liability matter involving harm from manufacturing and distributing defective products.

Our attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group pride themselves on providing aggressive, dependable legal representation. They believe in going out of their way to deliver the individual, one-on-one attention each client deserves. If your infant has been diagnosed with NEC after using baby formula, contact us today for a free consultation.

Photo Credit: Image by nerissa’s ring is licensed with CC BY 2.0