Who Is Eligible To Join The Baby Formula Lawsuit? – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

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Roughly 13.4 million babies worldwide are born prematurely every year. Premature babies often struggle to take in adequate nutrition. Since nutritional deficits can irreparably damage their growth and neurological development, preventing them is a top priority.

Studies have shown that breast milk is an ideal source of nutrition for premature babies if they are mature enough to digest it, it is not always available. As a result, hospitals often supplement the diets of premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with infant formula made from cow’s milk. While commercial formula provides nutritional benefits, it can also have dangerous side effects in premature infants.

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Who Is Filing Baby Formula Lawsuits?

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Some parents of premature babies who were given formula in the hospital are filing lawsuits against the formula manufacturers for failing to warn parents and medical providers about the risks associated with their baby formulas. This article explains the baby formula lawsuits and discusses who may be eligible to file a legal claim against two major manufacturers.


What Are the Legal Claims?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the digestive systems of premature infants are not always developed. Because of this, they must be given enteral nutrition (tube feeding directly into their stomach or intestines). Research has shown that premature babies fed with cow milk-based baby formulas have a significantly higher risk of developing a severe gastrointestinal condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) than those fed only human milk.

NEC is a disorder that causes severe intestinal inflammation in premature and medically fragile infants. Although its cause has not been definitively identified, NEC is characterized by inflammation and bacterial invasion of the intestinal wall. Nearly 70% of cases occur in premature infants born before 36 weeks gestation.

NEC can cause injury to the infant’s intestinal walls, leading to necrosis (death) of the intestinal tissue and perforation of the gut wall barrier. Contents of the bowels spilling into the abdomen can have serious or fatal effects. Between 10% and 50% of infant cases of NEC are fatal.

Treating NEC involves a feeding tube, antibiotics, diligent X-ray monitoring and potentially surgery to remove irreparably damaged parts of an infant’s intestinal tract. Extensive intestinal necrosis can lead to serious long-term digestive issues. Even in babies who fully recover, NEC can result in lifelong neurological and nutritional complications.


Why Are Parents Suing Formula Manufacturers?

Many parents of premature infants who were given baby formula are filing product liability lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories (the producer of Similac products) and Mead Johnson (the producer of Enfamil formulas).

These lawsuits claim the manufacturers knew or should have known about the potential risks associated with their baby formula products. They claim that milk from cows with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) can cause NEC, failure to thrive, sepsis and other dangers to premature infants.

BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) is a progressive neurological disorder of cattle resulting from infection. Although the cause of BSE is not well understood, the most accepted theory is that a protein component mutates and causes damage to the animal’s central nervous system. Consuming BSE-contaminated cow milk or meat can transmit the mutated protein to humans, causing illness.

The lawsuits allege that Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson knew their formula products contained BSE components that could cause illnesses, including NEC, in vulnerable preterm infants. The plaintiffs allege that manufacturers failed to learn more about the potential dangers of their products and did not warn the public.

Plaintiffs also argue that Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson marketed potentially hazardous formula products as safe and beneficial for premature infants. Their baby formulas contained no warnings about NEC as a side effect, and the manufacturers did not offer proper instructions or guidelines for using their products.

Abbot Laborites and Mead Johnson deny their baby formulas cause NEC and other health problems in premature infants. They also argue that plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the Infant Formula Act, a federal law passed in 1980 regulating the nutritional value and safety of infant formula.

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Who Is Eligible to Join the Baby Formula Lawsuits?

To be eligible to file or join a Similac or Enfamil lawsuit, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your infant was born prematurely.
  • Your premature infant received Enfamil or Similac formula products while in the hospital.
  • Your premature infant received a diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), sepsis, bowel amputation, meningitis, bacterial infection, bloody stool, abnormal bleeding, salmonella, shortness of breath, fatigue, severe intestinal problems or death.

Parents who used over-the-counter Enfamil or Similac formula products to feed their babies may also be able to pursue claims against the manufacturers. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and potential legal claims.


What Specific Brands of Baby Formula Are at Issue?

The following baby formula brands have been named in the Similac and Enfamil lawsuits:

  • Similac Special Care
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier
  • Similac NeoSure
  • Similac Alimentum
  • Similac Alimentum Expert Care
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Concentrated Liquid
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Powder
  • Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
  • Similac Special Care 20
  • Similac Special Care 24
  • Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Acidified Liquid
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Powder
  • Similac Special Care 30
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Hydrolyzed Protein- Concentrated Liquid
  • Enfacare Powder
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Liquid High Protein
  • Enfamil Milk Fortifier Liquid Standard Protein
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare
  • Enfamil Premature 20 Cal
  • Enfamil Premature 24 Cal
  • Enfamil Premature 24 Cal/fl oz HP
  • Enfamil Premature 30 Cal
  • Enfamil 24 and DHA & ARA Supplement

Other formula brands may potentially be included as the lawsuits progress.

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How Can You Pursue a Baby Formula Lawsuit?

Numerous medical malpractice lawsuits have been filed against the doctors who prescribed Similac and Enfamil, the hospitals where premature infants received the formulas and the baby formula producers. Every family’s situation is different, so lawsuits have been filed nationwide in many state and federal courts.

Many of these cases have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Illinois. You may be able to join an existing class action lawsuit or file a separate legal action. An experienced attorney can help you understand your options and how to pursue a case if your child suffered injuries caused by ingesting baby formula.

Did Your Baby Develop Nec After Being Fed Similac Or Enfamil?

You may be eligible for significant compensation. Get your free case review today.
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See If You Qualify

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