A growing number of lawsuits filed against baby formula makers, Abbott and Mead Johnson, claim that the companies failed to warn them about their premature baby formula’s potentially causing serious gastrointestinal disease in premature infants. According to court documents, Abbott and Mead Johnson targeted parents of preterm infants with false marketing of their infant formula products and failed to warn them of the increased risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
NEC is a serious disease that affects the intestines of premature infants. When NEC is present, the wall of the intestine becomes invaded by bacteria, which cases infection, inflammation, and may ultimately destroy the wall of the intestine. Such destruction can lead to perforation of the intestine and cause stool to spill into the baby’s abdomen, which can result in severe infection and death.
Although the cause of NEC is unknown, it affects mainly preemies who are fed baby formula as opposed to breast milk. Because the premature baby has immature lungs and intestines, any decrease in oxygen will damage the intestinal wall and potentially lead to NEC within the first two weeks of life.
One of the first signs of NEC is the child’s inability to tolerate feedings, accompanied by bloating, vomiting, and sometimes bloody stools. If a diagnosis is not made early on, the child might develop a low respiratory rate, breathing apnea, and a low heart rate requiring the insertion of a breathing tube. Occasionally infants with NEC will also exhibit a red and tender abdomen, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased blood pressure leading to shock.
While the symptoms of some infants suffering from NEC will resolve with medical treatment, those who do not respond and develop a worsening condition will require intestinal surgery. Some infants who lose much of their intestines to infection will require a bowel transplant to survive.
If your baby was put on premature infant formula and suffered injuries, Childers, Schlueter & Smith may be able to assist you and your family. Give us a call at 404-4199500 or fill out our contact us form, right here on our website.