Research has found that premature infants who are fed cow’s-milk based baby formula are at a substantially higher risk of developing a serious intestinal disease necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), than those who receive breast milk. One study concluded that extremely premature babies who are fed cow’s-milk based formula or milk fortifier have a 320 percent higher risk of developing NEC.
Studies have also found that an exclusive human milk-based diet significantly reduces the risk of NEC, however, formula companies do not warn consumers about the potential impact of their products on premature infants. Human milk-based formulas have been available to consumers since 2014, but some formula makers continue to make their products using cow’s-milk.
Both Abbott and Mead Johnson currently face lawsuits alleging they failed to issue warnings that their cow’s-milk based products, Enfamil and Similac, could cause NEC in premature infants. The lawsuits allege that the companies specifically targeted the parents of preterm infants with false marketing of their infant formula products, despite the fact that Abbott and Mead Johnson knew, or should have known, that the products can have a devastating impact on the health of preterm infants.
NEC, a serious intestinal disease that occurs primarily in premature infants, develops when bacteria invades the baby’s intestinal wall, causing infection and inflammation that can ultimately destroy the child’s intestinal tissue. The diseases can permanently scar or narrow portions of the child’s intestine, leading to lifelong complications. In severe cases, NEC completely destroys the intestinal tissue, causing perforation and spillage of stool into the infant’s abdomen, which may lead to severe infection and sometimes even death.
If your child was fed cow’s-milk based formula (either exclusively or partially) and developed NEC, you might be eligible to file a personal injury case to collect monetary damages for the damages you and your child sustained. Our firm might be able to help. Give us a call or fill out the contact form here on our website.