Birth Injuries

Newborn Formula Implicated in Causing Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)

July 13, 2022
Mother feeding infant milk | NEC lawsuit

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Bradley Zimmerman

Ilana Wolk and Bradley Zimmerman of the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm are proudly representing the families of pre-term and low birth weight infants who have wrongly developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a potentially lethal disease. 

On May 26, 2022, the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm, in partnership with the Lieff Cabraser Law Firm, filed a NEC lawsuit against one of the leading cow’s milk-based formula manufacturers, Abbott Laboratories, on behalf of a ten-year-old child who suffered severe, lifelong injury to her growth and development after being fed Similac formula shortly after birth and contracting NEC. 

Prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five years old.

One of the major early risks associated with premature birth is the development of gastrointestinal problems because premature and low-birthweight infants are more likely to have immature gastrointestinal systems and immune systems. 

Consequently, among high-risk, premature infants, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality.  

NEC is the breakdown of the intestinal tract, leading to sepsis, loss of intestinal tissue, and extreme malnourishment. 

Premature infants who contract NEC may ultimately require extensive surgery, leaving the infant with a significantly shortened colon requiring supportive feeds including total parenteral nutrition (TPN), Nasogastric tube placement, and a lifetime of complications, including failure to grow both physically and developmentally. In some cases, the illness can be fatal.

Appropriate nutrition is essential to the healthy growth and development of premature infants and to preventing them from contracting potentially lethal NEC. 

Multiple research studies have implicated the manufacturers of baby formulas in causing and/or contributing to premature newborn development of NEC. Studies dating back to the 1990s have found that feeding premature infants cow’s milk-based formula significantly increases the likelihood that the infant may succumb to this devastating and catastrophic condition. [1] 

Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization recommend that low birth weight infants and preterm infants receive human milk.

Despite reliable scientific and medical evidence linking cow’s milk-based products to the development of NEC in premature infants, manufacturers have continued to market their products as an equally safe alternative to breast milk and even necessary for the proper nutrition and growth of these high-risk infants. 

This is a great paradox that must be corrected immediately.

Necrotizing enterocolitis causes harm to the most helpless individuals in society, newborn infants. 

The manufacturers of this cow’s milk-based formula, whose negligent conduct and advertising have caused and/or contributed to devastating injuries in the most vulnerable infants, must be held accountable and responsible. 

No child should suffer from the consequences of an unsafe product. With over forty years of experience litigating product liability, the Fuchsberg Law Firm is committed to holding these particular manufacturers accountable for reporting to provide nourishment and healthy life-sustaining treatment for premature infants. 

If you believe your child has developed necrotizing enterocolitis after consuming a cow’s milk-based formula, please do not hesitate to call 212.869.3500 today or contact our office and share your story. 

We can help when the unimaginable happens.

[1] Lucas, A., & Cole, T. J. Breast milk and neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis. Lancet (London, England), 336(8730), 1519-1523.