How is NEC Diagnosed, and How Do You Prove It Was Caused by Baby Formula?
Baby formula manufacturers are being sued by parents across the United States over claims that certain baby formula products cause newborn babies, and especially premature newborns, to develop NEC – necrotizing enterocolitis. If your own child develops necrotizing enterocolitis, discuss your family’s rights as quickly as possible with a California product liability lawyer.
What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?
What is NEC? How is it diagnosed? What are its symptoms? If your child has developed NEC, what steps should you take? How can you prevail with a legal claim that your child’s NEC was caused by baby formula? When should you call a lawyer who can help you file a NEC baby formula lawsuit?
You will find the answers to these questions in the following brief discussion of necrotizing enterocolitis, product liability laws, and your family’s legal rights, but if your own newborn child has developed NEC, you will also need to reach out at once to a product liability lawyer.
What Are the Effects of NEC?
Necrotizing enterocolitis primarily affects premature infants. NEC develops when tissue in a newborn child’s large or small intestine becomes inflamed, dies, and creates a hole in the intestinal wall. The intestine can no longer hold waste, so bacteria may spread into the child’s bloodstream.
Infants who have necrotizing enterocolitis may have trouble feeding, constipation or diarrhea, and stomach discoloration and swelling. NEC is diagnosed with abdominal X-rays. Treatments include antibiotics, oxygen therapy, platelet and red blood cell transfusions, and IV fluids.
Without immediate treatment, a child with NEC may require surgery. Infants diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis have about a fifty percent mortality rate. NEC survivors are likely to face neurodevelopmental impairment and to have digestive problems for the rest of their lives.
What Causes NEC?
Researchers have not identified a singular cause for NEC. There may be several causes, and there are several risk factors. Children under 3 pounds and 5 ounces are susceptible because their immune systems are underdeveloped, and babies with low oxygen levels at birth are also at risk.
The Lancet medical journal has reported that the newborns who consume cow’s milk-based baby formula were up to ten times more likely to develop NEC than babies who were fed their own mother’s breast milk. Additional research has confirmed that baby formula consumption increases the risk for necrotizing enterocolitis.
Some of the research indicates that the risk of NEC may be increased by the unbound fat-free acids in baby formula, which can be toxic to cells in the intestines. Cow’s milk-based baby formula also lacks the human antibodies that strengthen a newborn’s immune system.
Why Are Premature Babies at Greater Risk?
Premature babies are at risk for a wide variety of medical issues and concerns – primarily immunological, gastrointestinal, respiratory, and cardiac problems – because their organs have not yet developed. Premature babies are also more likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis.
Many premature babies cannot breastfeed because they are not yet big enough or strong enough. Hospitals routinely substitute cow-based baby formula, but adequate and detailed warnings about baby formula are necessary to ensure that doctors and parents are making informed choices.
What Are Parents Claiming?
Parents who are filing NEC-based product liability lawsuits against baby formula manufacturers are contending that those companies (Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson) knew or should have been aware of the danger of necrotizing enterocolitis, and they’re additionally claiming that those companies should have provided adequate warnings to doctors, parents, and hospitals.
Based on decades of research that links NEC to baby formula, it is probable that these companies were aware of a connection. Parents and their lawyers claim that manufacturers failed to warn doctors, parents, and hospitals about the risk that baby formula poses for premature children.
If Your Child Develops NEC, What Steps Should You Take?
No child should have to suffer because of the negligence of a baby formula manufacturer. If your child consumed baby formula and developed NEC, a California product liability lawyer will help you file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your medical costs and other NEC-related losses.
If it is detected early, necrotizing enterocolitis is treatable, but if your child consumed cow-based baby formula, and your child then developed necrotizing enterocolitis, you may have a strong product liability case, and you must consult a product liability attorney as quickly as possible.
If a perforation forms in the infant’s intestine, immediate surgery is required. If your daughter or son has passed away because of necrotizing enterocolitis, a California product liability attorney can file a wrongful death claim against the baby formula manufacturer on your family’s behalf.
Is There a Deadline for Taking Legal Action?
The statute of limitations – the deadline for bringing a product liability claim against a baby formula manufacturer – depends on the state where you reside. In most states, the statute of limitations for bringing a product liability claim is two, three, or four years. In the State of California, for instance, the statute of limitations can be as short as one year.
However, parents should not wait two, three, or four years to speak with a product liability lawyer. It is vital for your attorney to review your child’s medical records – before they are altered, misplaced, or lost – and to speak with any witnesses before their memories begin to fade.
If you have missed the deadline in your own state, go ahead and speak to an attorney. Your case may qualify as one of the exceptions your state allows to the statute of limitations. But if your child recently developed NEC (or recently passed away because of it), speak to a lawyer at once.
What Else Should Parents Know?
Your family may already face excessive medical expenses because of necrotizing enterocolitis, but financial concerns should not prevent parents from seeking justice. A product liability lawyer will not charge you for legal services and advice unless and until you recover compensation.
Your lawyer’s fee is based on the compensation you recover, and if for any reason you are not compensated at the end of the legal process, your lawyer doesn’t get paid. Initial case evaluations are also provided without any cost or obligation to the parents of children who develop NEC.
An initial case evaluation is a parent’s chance to receive personalized advice and to learn how product liability laws apply in your family’s own case. If your newborn infant has developed NEC, contact a product liability lawyer for a free case evaluation, and make that call today.