Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) is a rare condition, only affecting approximately 1 in 10,000 infants born on time. However, it is more rampant in children born prematurely before 36 weeks of gestation. If your baby developed the condition and wasn’t premature at birth, you might wonder whether you’re eligible to file an NEC lawsuit.
The truth is that NEC is extremely dangerous and can be fatal, with a mortality rate of more than 16%. The condition leads to the death of intestinal tissue in babies, sometimes causing a hole in the abdomen. If you believe your child acquired NEC after feeding on cow milk-based formulas, you should consult a national personal injury law firm to understand your legal options.
Why Are People Filing Baby Formula Lawsuits?
Parents have filed a lawsuit against Mead Johnson and Abbot Laboratories, the Enfamil and Similac baby formula manufacturers. The argument is that these companies knew or should have known their products posed a risk of developing NEC in infants.
Premature babies fed on these formulas were significantly at a higher risk of NEC than those fed exclusively on human milk. The risk was also lower in infants fed on breastmilk that those fed a combination of infant formula and mother’s milk.
What Are the Legal Reasons for Suing Abbott Laboratories and Mead Industries
Some grounds in the NEC infant formula lawsuits that have been filed against the manufacturers include:
- Enfamil had design defects because the company could have used fortified breast milk instead of cow’s milk. A reasonable alternative design existed that was potentially less dangerous. Despite the manufacturers knowing about the alternative method, they still used cow’s milk to make the products.
- While the defendants spend billions of dollars annually to market their products, they never mention the risk of NEC. That amount of money could go towards researching safer formulas for preterm babies.
Who Qualifies to File an NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit?
If your premature baby developed NEC or other similar medical complications like sepsis, you might file a mass tort claim or lawsuit after being provided with Enfamil and Similac in a hospital setting. You have the right to seek compensation from the manufacturers of the baby formulas. Your insurance claim will depend on your child’s symptoms.
The following conditions must apply to file an NEC-related lawsuit:
- Your child was born prematurely at less than 37 weeks of gestation.
- Your child fed on Enfamil or Similac baby formulas
- The baby developed and was diagnosed with NEC or other gastrointestinal issues like intestinal perforation or strictures in the intestines.
For help with how to file a lawsuit, consider consulting a skilled Wilmington NEC baby formula attorney. The lawyer will review your claim and help you determine your eligibility. If you’re eligible for compensation, your lawyer will defend your baby’s rights in a court of law.
What is the Connection Between Baby Formula and NEC?
One of the primary causes of NEC in premature babies is feeding them cow milk-based formulas instead of human breast milk. Premature babies fed on formulas based on cow milk have a 4.2-fold increased risk of NEC and a 5.1 higher risk of NEC surgery or death.
A meta-analysis of six studies involving 869 premature babies fed on cow’s milk-based formula showed a 362% risk increase for developing NEC compared to babies fed on human breast milk.
Despite having this information, the manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil refused to warn parents or medical professionals of the risk. Both companies still market these formulas for premature babies. A national personal injury law firm can help you file a claim if you believe you have a case against the manufacturers.
Babies at Risk for NEC
About 9 out of 10 babies who get NEC are born early, with the condition mainly affecting infants:
- Born before 37 weeks of pregnancy
- Fed through a tube in the stomach
- Weighing not more than 5 ½ pounds at birth
NEC is a common illness in premature infants, affecting 1 in every 1,000 babies born prematurely. The risk is more significant for babies that weigh less than 2 pounds. It rarely occurs in full-term babies.
How Do I Know if My Baby Had NEC?
Many NEC signs and symptoms start presenting within a few days or weeks. The most apparent sign is swelling or bloating of the abdomen. Other common symptoms include:
- Feeding intolerance
- Lack of weight gain
- Bile-colored vomiting or gastric discharge
- Blood stools
- Temperature instability
- Changes in blood pressure or heart rate
- Slow heart rate
- Decreased bowel sounds
NEC may require medical treatment, but severe cases will call for surgery. However, surgery may have severe risks of permanent injury to preterm babies.
What Damages Can I Claim in Toxic Baby Formula Lawsuits?/h2>
You have a legal entitlement to file baby formula lawsuits against Similac and Enfamil after being harmed by the products. Your claims comprise harm caused to the premature baby and the suffering your family has endured in the process. Here are some of the claims you may be able to recover:
- Medical costs: You can receive money for past and present medical bills associated with NEC. However, the cost of surgery to remove the intestine may be prohibitive.
- Lost wages: You may recover the money you had to forgo by missing work to look after the baby.
- Pain and suffering: Often, pain and suffering are a large part of NEC baby formula lawsuits because of the significant pain, discomfort, and infection the baby has to endure.
- Wrongful death damages: Almost one in every three premature infants who develop NEC will lose their lives from the complications. If that happens, you can receive wrongful death damages for the loss.
In addition, your baby’s estate (premature infants have an estate) can file a survival action to recover the pain and suffering the baby went through before their death.
What is the Average Payout for Claims Against Similac and Enfamil?
The NEC baby formula lawsuits are just starting, but a Wilmington NEC baby formula attorney can help you approximate a compensation payout. They can evaluate previous NEC medical malpractice cases, a few being the following:
- Florida: $900,000 settlement
- Louisiana: $347,000 settlement
- Massachusetts: $7 million settlement
- New York: $ 5 million verdict and $1.35 million settlement
- California: $10 million settlement
- Michigan: $50,000 settlement
The cases with the highest value settlement amounts are those where the child needs ongoing care and has long-term pain and suffering. The economic cost of lifelong care for most of these children is in the millions of dollars.
Can I Still Sue Even When My Baby Recovers?
You can still file a baby formula lawsuit after your baby recovers. Wilmington and Jacksonville NEC baby formula lawyers can evaluate the details of your case and explain if you have legal grounds for compensation.
A Skilled and Experienced National Attorney Fighting for Your Baby’s Rights
Parents rely on baby formula manufacturers to provide safe products with adequate nutrition. Sadly, Enfamil and Similac manufacturers knowingly marketed their products despite many studies showing their risks. If your child was fed on the baby formulas and developed NEC, you might be entitled to compensation.
Our experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers can help with your NEC lawsuit against Mead and Johnson and Abbot Laboratories. We have experience in fighting for clients in malpractice lawsuits. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our legal team.