NEC Risk Linked to Cow Milk-Based Formulas
Scientists have discovered a disturbing link between certain types of cow milk-based baby formula and the dangerous and sometimes fatal disease of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). The disease impacts mostly premature babies, attacking their intestines.
The manufacturers of the at-risk formulas failed in their responsibilities to properly warn parents about this dangerous link and unfortunately, babies have become sick, with some infants even dying from complications of NEC. This failure represents an act of negligence on the part of the distributors of these products and entities. Those parents who have been impacted can seek a claim against them to obtain compensation for their suffering.
A company that fails to properly market its products can be held liable for its failure to act accordingly. If you or your child has been impacted by this situation, you should first consult with a Philadelphia products liability lawyer who can offer you advice and take on your case.
What is Happening with Baby Formula?
As far back as 1990, scientists have found that those premature babies who consume cow milk-based baby formula run a greater risk of developing the deadly disease known as NEC. It is a gastrointestinal problem that mostly impacts premature babies.
The disease can damage intestines by first causing intestinal tissue to inflame, leaving holes in the intestine. These perforations can then leak bacteria from the intestine to the abdomen or blood. This can cause a serious illness, or deadly blood infections. About 50 percent of all cases result in death.
Recently, new cases have been rising again, and several lawsuits have been filed against major baby formula manufacturing companies. Those who have been impacted include:
- Premature babies born in 2006 or later.
- Babies born to mothers who are between the ages of 21-35.
- The baby must have used a cow’s milk-based baby formula and then been diagnosed with NEC.
Parents who fall into these categories should reach out to a Philadelphia products liability lawyer who can provide legal advice on the case, should they determine that one exists.
What Are Symptoms of NEC?
While it is a disease that mostly impacts premature babies, that is not always the case: babies that had a particularly difficult childbirth, or have an elevated level of red blood cells could be at risk of developing NEC as well. Those babies who already have gastrointestinal issues can also be at risk for NEC.
Dealing with the rare and dangerous disease of NEC is stressful. Here are symptoms you should be looking for if you fear your baby might have NEC:
- Swollen or bloated belly.
- Trouble feeding.
- Feedings that stay in the stomach for prolonged periods.
- Blood in the stool.
- Throwing up green, bile-containing vomit.
- Blockage of intestinal movement.
- Abdomen that is either tender or red.
- Trouble breathing.
- Reduced heart rate or blood pressure.
- Low or unstable temperature.
If you notice these symptoms in your baby and you have been feeding them cow milk-based baby formula, you should speak with your child’s pediatrician immediately.
Parents of children who are most vulnerable to NEC should also speak with their pediatrician about finding alternative feeding options beyond cow’s milk-based baby formula.
What Brands Have Been Associated with Cases of NEC?
There are several lawsuits already pending against manufacturers of name-brand cow milk-based baby formulas failing to sufficiently warn parents about the potential link between their products and NEC. Among the brands that have become associated with this situation include:
- Baby’s Only.
- Earth’s Best.
- Go & Grow.
- Happy Baby.
- Parent’s Choice.
These are the brands that have been either named in a lawsuit or have been connected to cases of NEC. That does not mean that brands not named in this list are guaranteed to be safe such as the generic ones. Even those that are organic still use a certain percentage of cow milk in their products.
It can be difficult to find a product that is suitable for your premature baby as more than 80 percent of all baby formulas use a certain percentage cow milk. Speak with your child’s pediatrician to determine suitable alternatives until your child can switch back to traditional formula.
If your child has consumed one of these products and was diagnosed with NEC, you should talk with a Philadelphia products liability lawyer who can manage your case and help force these companies to better protect the babies consuming their products.
What is a Products Liability Case?
In a products liability case, the company or entity responsible for creating or marketing a product can be held responsible when a product causes harm to those who are using it. The most common issue is when a product fails to operate properly, resulting in an injury to the person operating it.
The fault of the product usually lies with the manufacturer. If the user alters the product in any way, it could minimize a company’s liability. Product liability covers medication and food products as well, including baby formula.
There are three types of products liability lawsuits in Pennsylvania. They include:
- Design defects: This is when the product’s design is defective and will cause injury to the user.
- Manufacturing defects: In these situations, a single item off a manufacturing line is defective. That defect can lead to an injury to the person using it, or even those nearby.
- Marketing defects: This also is referred to as a “failure to warn defect.” These can be more complicated. When a company fails to warn the consumer about the inherent dangers from the use of a company’s product, it can be held liable for any harm that result from it. The term “failure to warn defect” can also cover instances where a product is marketed to the wrong people, such as promoting a product with small pieces to young children who could choke on those pieces.
Before filing your case, you should know that Pennsylvania applies the legal concept of “strict liability” to defective product cases. Using this standard, the plaintiff need not prove that defendant was negligent, but only need to prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous and caused injury to the user despite being used as intended.
What Damages Can I Collect in a Product Liability Claim?
In addition to from the emotional and mental trauma of caring for a baby who is suffering from NEC, other expenses can accumulate. Those formula-manufacturing companies that have failed to warn customers about the risk of NEC due to their products can be made to provide you compensation, not only to recoup your monetary losses from hospital bills, but for the pain and suffering of you and your child.
One important reason to file a claim is to stop a company from releasing defective products, or to compel them to provide sufficient warnings about the dangers of their products. A liability claim can force a company to issue a recall, or to begin to provide warnings on their products including on their cow-milk based formula about the connection to NEC.
Other damages you can seek in a liability claim include:
- Medical expenses: This includes all past current and future bills to care for your illness or injury that you experience due to the defective product.
- Lost wages: If you or your spouse need to take time off work to care for your child diagnosed with NEC, you can seek compensation to recoup any lost wages you incurred in the past, will incur in the future, or are currently losing.
- Loss of earning capacity: If you are unable to return to your job full time, or must scale back your hours to care for your child, you can also seek damages for the salary that you should have been making had you been able to work full time.
- Property damage: If a defective product caused damage to your property, you could receive an award to repair the damage that was sustained.
- Emotional pain: When you are injured due to a defective product, or if your baby becomes ill because you were not made aware of the dangers of the baby formula, it can be emotionally and mentally devastating. While it cannot replace the loss of the child, or take away their suffering, you can seek compensation for that anguish, potentially helping your family avoid other financial problems during your time of turmoil.
- Funeral expenses: If the worst happens, you can seek to have the liable company pay for all funeral costs, including burial costs and others.
- Miscellaneous costs: Any other costs associated with treating your child’s illness can include travel expenses, new equipment, and others.
In Pennsylvania, you have two years to file your claim from the day you found out about your baby’s diagnosis. While it might seem like a significant amount of time, it can go quickly. Speak to a Philadelphia products liability lawyer right away about your case.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Stand Against Companies Putting Babies at Risk
If your premature baby has been diagnosed with NEC after they consumed cow milk-based baby formula, you might have a case of liability against the manufacturers of that product. No one should have to go through what you are going through. Our Philadelphia products liability lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will fight to hold those companies responsible to failed to warn parents about the danger of their products. Call 215-569-8488 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients in Philadelphia, Delaware County, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Delaware, and surrounding areas in New Jersey. New Jersey.