Parents of premature infants have filed lawsuits against the makers of popular baby formulas Similac and Enfamil. The lawsuits allege cow’s milk-based formulas can result in serious gastrointestinal problems and death in premature babies.
California Lawsuit Claims Milk-Based Formulas Given to Deceased Infant are Unreasonably Dangerous
Baby formula manufacturers Abbott Laboratories Inc. and Mead Johnson and Company are facing multiple lawsuits related to their Similac and Enfamil formulas. Among them is a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California which deals with the death of a 34-day-old infant.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s baby was born prematurely on December 25, 2020. The baby, referred to in the lawsuit as Baby Sanders, was intravenously fed Similac Special Case 20Fe manufactured by Abbott Laboratories as well as Enfamil HMF High Protein, Enfamil Premature, and Enfamil Premium manufactured by Mead Johnson & Company, LLC.
On January 25, 2021, Baby Sanders developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis (“NEC”), a potentially fatal gastrointestinal disease. On January 27, 2021, Baby Sanders died.
The baby formula lawsuit alleges Baby Sanders’s NEC diagnosis and resulting death were the “direct or proximate result of consumption of [the] Defendants’ unreasonably dangerous cow’s milk-based products.”
According to the lawsuit, studies have demonstrated a link between cow’s milk-based formulas and fortifiers and NEC, but Abbott and Mead have made no changes to their products or the products’ packaging, instructions, or warnings.
The lawsuit further claims Abbott and Mead continue to promote their “defunct” cow’s milk-based products despite the development of human milk- and non-bovine-based products.
What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious gastrointestinal condition that causes intestinal inflammation in infants. The condition may also cause holes to develop in the intestine, with bacteria from the intestine potentially leaking into the abdomen or blood.
When the bacteria reach the bloodstream, serious illness and potentially fatal blood infections can occur.
NEC is the most common intestinal disease among premature babies and may be fatal in as many as 50% of cases.
Symptoms of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) include:
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Diarrhea and bloody stool
- Green or yellow vomit
- Refusing to eat and lack of weight gain
- Changes in heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and breathing
The Link Between Cow’s Milk-Based Baby Formulas and Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)
A study published in Lancet in 1990 revealed that Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) was up to six to 10 times more common in premature babies that were exclusively fed formula than babies fed breast milk alone. The disease was also three times more common in exclusively formula-fed premature babies than premature babies that received formula plus breastmilk.
Further, the study concluded that NEC was rare in babies born at more than 30 weeks gestation, but the disease was 20 times more common in those fed formula only.
Similarly, a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2010 concluded that when premature babies were fed exclusively mother’s milk, donor milk, and human milk fortifier, they were 90% less likely to develop surgical NEC.
A 2011 report from the U.S. Surgeon General also concluded that premature infants who are not breastfed are 138% more likely to develop NEC than those that are.
Additional reports and studies have continued to produce similar results and conclusions.
Popular Baby Formula Brands that Contain Cow’s Milk
- Abbott Laboratories Inc. cow’s milk-based formulas:
- Similar Special care
- Similac NeoSure
- Similac Alimentum
- Similac Alimentum Expert Care
- Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier Hydrolyzed Protein Concentrated Liquid
- Similac Special Care 20
- Similac Special Care 24
- Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
- Similac Special Care 30
- Mead Johnson and Company cow’s milk-based formulas:
- Enfacare Powder
- Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare
- Enfamil Premature 20 Cal
- Enfamil Premature 24 Cal
- Enfamil Premature 24 Cal/fl oz HP
- Enfamil Premature 30 Cal
- Enfamil HMF High Protein
- Enfamil Premium
- Enfamil 24 and DHA & ARA Supplement
- Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier
Contacting a Product Liability Attorney for Your Baby Formula Lawsuit
If your baby was fed cow’s milk-based formula or fortifiers and suffered from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), contact Thomas J. Henry Law immediately. Our attorneys are experienced in product liability lawsuits as well as claims dealing with injuries suffered by infants, babies, and small children. We offer free no-risk consultations and we would be happy to answer your questions and review your case.
Do not wait, call now. Attorneys are standing by 24/7, nights and weekends.