When your baby is born, you get worried that something could go wrong, but you expect the hospital to know the correct procedures to ensure you and your newborn are as safe as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes your worries are correct. If a medical professional makes a mistake, they could cause serious or fatal outcomes for your baby. Or worse, they could be doing everything right but they’re unknowingly using a defective product.
If your premature baby was fed Enfamil or Similac and developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), then that could be a sign you need the help of our NEC baby formula lawyer. These formulas have increased risk of causing NEC, and manufacturers need to be held accountable for that because they failed to advertise this to consumers and medical professionals.
This can all be confusing, which is why Frost Law Firm, PC is here to break the NEC baby formula lawsuit down for you.
What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?
When you exist outside the medical world, medical terminology can be intimidating and difficult to understand. A phrase like necrotizing enterocolitis is no different because it’s long and hard to pronounce when you’re not familiar with breaking down these words, like a medical professional might be.
Let’s look at the parts of the words on their own for the medical term NEC. Necrotizing is first. The prefix “necro-“ typically means dead tissue, and the suffix “-ing” tells us that this is an action. Putting it together, necrotizing is the action of tissue dying.
Next, let’s look at enterocolitis. The prefix “entero-“ tells us that this will relate to the intestine. The next part of the word is “colitis.” This is the root word and means the colon is inflamed. Together, enterocolitis means inflammation in the digestive tract.
When you put both words together, necrotizing enterocolitis, you can more easily see the meaning of this medical condition, which is when tissue in the digestive tract dies. This can happen in the gut, intestines, or colon of a person. However, this condition is most common in premature or sick babies.
More specifically, medical necrotizing enterocolitis happens when a wall of tissue or the lining in part of the digestive tract dies from bacteria in formula. The stomach, intestines, and bowel of a baby are still developing, so while an adult might be able to receive treatment or a repair and survive this, a sick or premature baby doesn’t have much of a chance.
The problem with the dead tissue and bacteria is not only that it can infect the surrounding tissue, but also that the weakened tissue could allow stomach acid, bile, or other digestive acids or enzymes with the bacteria to leak from the tract and into the abdomen. That’s why NEC is so deadly.
Now that you understand what NEC is, let’s take a closer look at what causes this condition.
What Causes Necrotizing Enterocolitis?
Unfortunately, there isn’t just one cause of medical NEC, and the direct and exact cause still hasn’t been determined. There are many factors that are shown to potentially lead to an infant developing NEC. The journal Advances in Nutrition published an article with what has been observed to lead to necrotizing enterocolitis, and here is what researchers found:
- Premature birth, before 32 weeks
- Fed Similac or Enfamil formula
- Extremely low birth weight
- Poor oxygenation of tissue from underdeveloped lungs and heart or from other conditions that affect the newborn’s breathing
- Low blood supply to the gut
- Thin mucous layer
- Increased cell death for what would be normal cell turnover, but regeneration is impaired
- Leaky gut allows bacteria into the abdomen
- Suppressed immune system
- Enteral feeding, or feeding directly to the gastrointestinal tract
Premies are underdeveloped because they’re birthed before their full gestation period. They’re usually smaller, have lower birth weights, and are susceptible to conditions because their immune systems aren’t at the point they need to be. That’s why they shouldn’t be fed formula so early.
All the factors listed above could cause a newborn to develop NEC, but in this lawsuit, we’re focusing on the use of formula, specifically Enfamil and Similac formulas. Our NEC baby formula attorney is here to represent you and your baby if they were fed one of these formulas and developed medical necrotizing enterocolitis.
Brands of Formula Involved in This Class Action Lawsuit
Premature babies do not have fully formed digestive tracts and can only digest their mother’s milk. When they’re fed bovine milk, or cow’s milk, they cannot digest it, which leads to serious effects. The problem here is that Mead Johnson, manufacturer of Enfamil, and Abbott Labs, manufacturer of Similac, allegedly did not provide warning information about the potential dangers of using these products. Since Enfamil and Similac both contain bovine milk, this can increase the risk of NEC and death in infants, especially premature babies.
Ideally, pre-term babies should be fed their mother’s breast milk. This will have all the nutrients, enzymes, and other supplements they need to grow and get to a healthy weight. Sometimes, their mother’s breast milk isn’t an option, and they must be fed formula.
In these cases, the formula must be specially designed for premies so that they get all the nutrients they need without anything that could harm their weaker than usual digestive tracts. In the cases of Similac and Enfamil, they contain the nutrients that premature babies need, but they are cow milk based, which these infants are unable to digest.
This is what causes NEC because the underdeveloped digestive tract is unable to handle the extra stress of cow’s milk. Babies fed these formulas are up to ten times more likely to develop NEC than babies given breast milk. Bovine based formula leads to inflammation, bacteria, and could even lead to necrotizing enterocolitis and death.
If this has happened to your baby, we’ll help you join the NEC baby formula lawsuit.
Symptoms Showing Your Baby Could Have NEC
While you may be more concerned now about your baby developing NEC, you should know that it’s a rare condition. Only one in 2,000 to 4,000 babies will develop necrotizing enterocolitis. Still, it’s important to recognize the symptoms so you and your doctors can quickly identify this problem and begin treating your newborn right away.
Here are some of the most common necrotizing enterocolitis symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Feedings staying in the stomach
- Green or yellow vomit
- Bloody stool
- Low oxygen levels
- Slowed or labored breathing
- Low heart rate
- Change in body temperature
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Refusal to eat
- Unable to gain weight
When you notice these symptoms in your baby, you should alert your doctor or nurse. However, they should be monitoring your premature newborn as well, so they’ll likely notice these symptoms quickly and run tests to figure out what’s going on. Tests like X-rays and blood tests are how NEC is diagnosed.
From there, your baby will be treated with antibiotics or surgery. Doctors will likely need to remove the dead tissue.
Once your baby has been diagnosed, and formula was determined to be the cause, you’ll want to take action. Our infant formula lawyer is here to help you.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Necrotizing Enterocolitis?
Death isn’t the only side effect that you have to worry about as a parent of a baby with NEC medical condition. If your baby lives through necrotizing enterocolitis, there will likely be lasting effects. Here are some of the long-term effects of NEC on your baby’s digestive system and body:
- Trouble gaining weight
- Problems with neurological development
- Digestive issues, including digestive failure
- Bowel adhesions
- Bowel strictures
- Short bowel syndrome
All these complications could greatly affect the rest of your baby’s life. If your infant’s NEC was caused by cow’s milk-based formula, you could join the NEC baby formula lawsuit to get justice.
Frost Law Firm, PC Understands Your Delicate Situation
Having premature babies is complicated enough, and when they’re fed dangerous formula, those complications are amplified. Our firm’s founder, Scott Frost, understands how stressful this time is for your family—two of his children were born premature.
That’s why at Frost Law Firm, PC, we’re here to represent your family and get you justice for what your baby has experienced. Our NEC baby formula attorneys will fight to get you justice because we’ve been in your situation.
Reach out to our firm today for a free consultation so we can discuss your options.