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Virginia Attorneys > Blog > Medical Malpractice > Parents File Lawsuits Against Formula Makers After Baby Deaths

Parents File Lawsuits Against Formula Makers After Baby Deaths


Formula makers Similac and Enfamil are facing major lawsuits related to the deaths of infants. According to recent reports, milk-based formulas can sometimes cause a condition known as NEC or necrotizing enterocolitis. The condition results in the inflammation of intestinal tissues that eventually results in the death of that tissue.

A recent report linking the formula to NEC has many wondering whether their child’s conditions are related to bad formula. The families believe that the companies knew about the risks of NEC and did not either report the issue or work to fix it.

The condition is primarily related to premature babies who are fed on formulas. For more information on whether or not your baby can suffer a severe complication related to their formula, you should consult your doctor. To err on the side of caution, milk-based formulas for premature babies should be avoided until doctors determine exactly what is going on.

When did Enfamil and Similac know about NEC? 

Babies born prematurely need extra nutrition in order to grow. Typically, premature babies cannot breastfeed. Instead, they are given formula. Two such formulas, Enfamil and Similac, which both use cow milk are implicated in causing this complication.

NEC is a bacterial infection that can develop for any of a number of reasons. Babies born prematurely have weaker immune systems and weaker digestive systems and struggle to fight off infections that full-term babies would not have issues with. It is unclear why milk-based formula would increase the risk of NEC in premature babies. It is likely that both companies will take issue with the research that appears to correlate the formulas with the condition.

While scientists have uncovered a connection between milk-based formulas and NEC, the exact nature of that connection is not fully understood. Right now, all we know is that these cow’s milk formulas seem to be a risk factor for NEC in premature infants. The typical rate of NEC in premature infants is around 10%. Those fed on cow’s milk formula would ostensibly have rates that are higher than 10%.

The first study indicating a link between cow’s milk and NEC was published in 1990. Ostensibly, these companies have been conducting 30 years worth of sales to new families after that study was reported. The study indicated that premature babies fed on cow’s milk formula were 10 times more likely to develop NEC than premature babies fed on synthetic or human formulas. Another study conducted 10 years later stated that infants fed on human or synthetic formulas were 90% less likely to develop NEC.

Talk to a Charlottesville, VA Medical Malpractice Attorney 

The Charlottesville medical malpractice attorneys at MichieHamlett represent the interests of patients injured by negligent doctors, defective medical devices, or dangerous drugs. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



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