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The 2022 nationwide baby formula shortage caused major stress for parents. The shortage caused growing concerns over the potential link between cow’s milk-based formula and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a rare but potentially deadly condition in premature infants.
A class action lawsuit was filed in September 2022 claiming that formula manufacturers like Enfamil and Similac failed to warn about and may have contributed to infants developing NEC. While more research is needed into this topic, as a parent, you must be aware of any potential risks associated with your baby.
Hence, this article will discuss the connection between NEC and Baby Formula, the Enfamil lawsuit, and why parents should watch NEC baby formula lawsuits.
NEC and Its Connection to Baby Formula
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a condition that affects the intestines of premature and low birthweight infants.
It is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can cause severe abdominal pain, malnutrition, and, in extreme cases, death. The precise cause of NEC remains a mystery. However, it is widely associated with an infant’s underdeveloped digestive system.
Symptoms of NEC are as follows:
- Stomach pain and swelling
- Yellow/Green vomit
- Unstable/low body temperature
- Dark/bloody stools or diarrhea
- Bradycardia (low heart rate)
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Inflamed intestinal wall
NEC causes inflammation and damage to the intestinal tissue of premature babies. About 1 in 1000 premature infants develop NEC, and 25% of those cases are fatal. Every year, over 3500 babies are diagnosed with NEC, and at least one baby dies per day from NEC, according to the NEC Society. The condition often requires surgery to remove portions of the intestine.
Studies have suggested that there may be a link between NEC and certain types of cow milk-based baby formula, including Enfamil and Similac. According to a 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics study, babies fed Enfamil formula are 3x more likely to develop NEC than babies fed breast milk.
The NEC Formula Lawsuits
Parents of infants who developed NEC after consuming milk formula like Enfamil filed a lawsuit against the formula manufacturers in federal court. They claim the companies knowingly failed to warn about and potentially hid increased NEC risks with their products compared to breastmilk.
The Enfamil lawsuit is still in the early stages, but the manufacturer, Reckitt, has denied these allegations. However, legal experts believe new parents should follow the case as it develops.
Thousands of families could be affected if the formula is conclusively linked to higher NEC rates.
Empowering Parents with Knowledge and Informed Choices
It is important to remember that NEC is a serious condition; if your baby develops it, visit the doctor immediately.
First and foremost, speak with your child’s doctor about their feeding recommendations.
Expressed breast milk is considered best for NEC prevention when possible. Some experts suggest hydrolyzed protein options if you use formula, as they are safer for high-risk preemies.
Beyond individual feeding choices, all parents should be interested in formula safety standards. The NEC baby formula lawsuits highlight the need for rigorous testing protocols before baby products enter the market. You can also make your voice heard through advocacy groups like IMPACT.
Updates on the NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit
As of November 2023, the NEC baby formula lawsuit is just getting started. Four crucial cases will represent the bellwether trials in the Illinois federal court.
These four cases involve infant death and severe health problems due to NEC after being fed the baby formula. However, no trial date is set as of November 1, 2023. However, the bellwether trials are expected to be held in 2024.
The number of pending baby formula cases in the federal NEC preterm infant formula MDL has increased to 275. The MDL is 18 months old, and about 12 new cases have been added since September.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Suppose your child was given Similac or Enfamil baby formula while in a neonatal intensive care unit and developed NEC. In this case, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
If your child was:
- Born prematurely
- Given Similac or Enfamil baby formula as supplementation
- Diagnosed with NEC by hospital doctors
You may be eligible for compensation. TorHoerman Law states you can file both a product liability and medical malpractice lawsuit. First, contact an experienced and local personal injury attorney and assess the seriousness of your case.
Filing baby formula lawsuits can be difficult; having an experienced attorney by your side will make it easy. Personal injury attorneys charge on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t spend a dime until you win the case.
As parents, it is understandable to be concerned about the safety of various baby formulas available in the market.
However, it is important to remember that NEC is rare; usually, only babies fed Enfamil formula will not develop it. But, if you have any queries about your baby’s feeding options, consult your doctor.
Always stay vigilant and prioritize your child’s health.