Similac and Enfamil are popular brands of infant formula marketed as a substitute or addition to mother’s breast milk. However, these formulas are cow milk based which significantly increases premature babies’ risk of developing a serious bowel infection called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). NEC is a gastrointestinal illness that mainly affects premature infants by damaging the intestines.
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our lawyers have a respected track record of success in product liability cases. We have obtained numerous awards and settlements on behalf of injured victims. Similac product liability cases require experienced professional counsel who understand the complexities of strict liability law and who have the resources and working relationships to bring these cases in court. Our lawyers work with product experts who can explain why Similac and Enfamil are defective products and why they cause NEC. We also work with neonatologists and other doctors who understand the severity and life-risks for premature babies who develop necrotizing enterocolitis.
Similac and Enfamil Formula and Necrotizing Enterocolitis
Premature babies often need extra care and additional calories and nutrition to support their development and improve their low weight. Formula brands such a Similac and Enfamil market their products as a nutritionally complete human milk alternatives to help babies gain weight. However, evidence has suggested that Similac and Enfamil can cause premature infants to develop necrotizing enterocolitis.
NEC is a serious gastrointestinal disease that can cause intestinal tissue to die or a hole (perforation) in the intestine. Bacteria can leak through this hole, causing serious abdominal infections. This serious gastrointestinal illness can result in lifelong complications and even death.
As early as 1990, testing was performed to evaluate the dangers of bovine-based formulas to premature babies. Over this time, studies have indicated babies fed cow’s milk-based formula exclusively are six to 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with NEC than infants given only breast milk. Although the numerous studies published in recent years have linked Similac and Enfamil to an increased risk of NEC, the manufacturers have failed to provide adequate warnings about the potential risk to infants, and in fact still promote their products as a preferred, premium formula for premature infants.
Long and Short Term Effects of NEC
Babies who develop NEC are at high risk for mortality and death especially in those who are premature. Other risks include perforation in the bowel, strictures (abnormal narrowing of the bowel), infection and sepsis. These complications can even present a need for bowel operation such as a repair or removal of certain areas of the intestine. In severe cases, babies with NEC may even develop a need for a stoma where an opening in the abdomen is connected to the digestive tract in order to assist with feeding and waste. As the baby continues to fight this disease, the intestines can become scarred, narrowed, or blocked, which may even require additional surgery.
Other common long-term complications of NEC include neurodevelopmental delay, failure to thrive, gastrointestinal problems including narrowing of the bowel and adhesions, and short bowel syndrome which can even lead to intestinal failure. Children who recovered from NEC may also continue to face malabsorption – when the intestines can’t absorb nutrients. This is most common in babies who required surgical intervention to remove part of their intestines.
Overall, NEC leads to substantially higher healthcare costs. These increased costs can continue throughout the babies’ development and are even more inflated in surgical survivors.
Signs and symptoms of NEC
If you are concerned your baby may be suffering from NEC, you should seek medical attention immediately. If you have been feeding Similac or Enfamil formula, you should also arrange to meet with one of our product liability lawyers. Known symptoms of NEC include:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Changes in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and temperature
- Bloody diarrhea
- Green or yellow vomit
- Inability to gain weight
- Lack of appetite
Make the call to one of our Similac and Enfamil lawyers in Atlanta and Savannah
Because of the growing evidence and the startling fatality rates, Harris Lowry Manton is investigating and pursuing legal claims on behalf of premature babies who develop NEC and their families. If you suffer any of the above symptoms, the most important action you can take is to seek treatment immediately for any of the conditions listed above. We have recovered compensation for hundreds of victims at trial and in negotiated settlements. You can call our attorneys at 404-998-4241 in Atlanta or 912-207-7573 in Savannah to schedule a free initial consultation. You can also fill out our contact form. We help clients throughout Georgia.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.