Baltimore accident lawyers

Can You File a Lawsuit if Your Infant Has Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disease that occurs in infants. The symptoms of NEC are often severe and sometimes fatal. Some infants have developed NEC because they ingested baby formula based with cow’s milk.

Fortunately, many parents of children who developed necrotizing enterocolitis can sue for their child’s injuries. Products liability is a field of personal injury law that seeks to hold manufacturers responsible for dangerous or defective products. In a products liability claim, manufacturers can be held liable for failing to warn about dangers associated with their product. Accordingly, our personal injury lawyers may help recover financial compensation if your child developed NEC because of harmful baby formula.

Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291 for a free review of your case with our Maryland personal injury attorneys.

What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a serious and potentially fatal disease that primarily occurs in infants. When an infant has necrotizing enterocolitis, bacteria invades the infant’s intestinal wall causes the death of bowel tissue. Necrotizing enterocolitis may lead to the following symptoms and conditions:

  • Sepsis
  • An abdominal infection called peritonitis
  • Intestinal stricture or narrowing of the intestines
  • Short bowel syndrome, which makes it hard for the body to absorb fluids and nutrients

Necrotizing enterocolitis gets worse over time, so it is important to identify symptoms and seek treatment quickly. Necrotizing enterocolitis is initially diagnosed based on a clinical observation of symptoms by a pediatrician. Afterwards, diagnostic tools such as blood testing and abdominal imaging may be used to identify necrotizing enterocolitis.

Necrotizing enterocolitis is treated by discontinuing all oral feeding and administering strong antibiotics. Additionally, infants may require surgery to repair the damage necrotizing enterocolitis does to their intestinal wall.

This condition can be fatal, lead to growth problems, or cause neurodevelopmental issues. Accordingly, parents should ask their pediatrician if the baby formula they choose can cause necrotizing enterocolitis. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer will be able to refer victims of necrotizing enterocolitis to the appropriate physician.

Cow’s Milk Baby Formula as a Cause of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Infants

Doctors have long known that a rapid advancement in feeding for a premature infant can result in a significant increase in the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis. The overwhelming majority of infants who develop necrotizing enterocolitis do so after being fed, and a reduction in feedings was found to decrease the likelihood of necrotizing enterocolitis. For years, the specific cause of necrotizing enterocolitis was not known. However, a link has since been established between cow’s milk in baby formula and the development of necrotizing enterocolitis.

Research has found for years that there is a link between cow’s milk in baby formulas and the development of necrotizing enterocolitis in infants. Still, there was never a warning placed on baby formulas that contained cow’s milk such as Similac and Enfamil, which have been linked to causing NEC in multiple lawsuits against manufacturers.

Accordingly, these and other manufacturers of cow’s milk baby formulas can be held liable for failing to warn consumers of the dangers associated with their product. Parents of infants who have developed necrotizing enterocolitis after ingesting cow’s milk baby formula may help their chances of compensation by seeking the assistance of our Annapolis personal injury lawyers.

Proving the Link Between Necrotizing Enterocolitis and Cows’ Milk Baby Formula

A great amount of scientific evidence exists linking necrotizing enterocolitis with cows’ milk baby formulas. The following are some of the more recent studies establishing that link:

  • A 2021 study from the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • A 2020 study from Cochrane, a UK-based medical NGO
  • A 2016 study from the medical journal Breastfeeding Medicine
  • A 2015 study from Brazilian medical journal Revista Paulista de Pediatria

Accordingly, victims who have developed necrotizing enterocolitis from cows’ milk baby formulas should be compensated for injuries suffered because of a formula manufacturer’s failure to warn. Parents of affected infants can contact our personal injury lawyers for help organizing their claim.

Formulas Alleged to Contain Cow’s Milk Potentially Leading to Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Victims who have developed necrotizing enterocolitis after ingesting a cows’ milk baby formula may be entitled to compensation. If a child has developed necrotizing enterocolitis after ingesting any of the formulas listed in this section, our Bethesda personal injury lawyers can offer a free review of their potential lawsuit.

Enfamil Baby Formula

One formula manufacturer allegedly failed to warn of the dangerous related to their cow’s milk formula was Mead Johnson & Johnson Company. If a baby was fed any of the following formulas, they may deserve compensation:

  • Enfamil NeoPro EnfaCare Infant Formula
  • Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 20 Cal with Iron
  • Enfamil 24 Cal Infant Formula
  • Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 24 Cal High Protein
  • Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 24 Cal with Iron
  • Enfamil Premature Infant Formula 30 Cal with Iron
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier

Similac Baby Formula

Additionally, Abbott Laboratories allegedly failed to place warnings on their cow’s milk formula called Similac. A child may be also be afforded compensation if they have developed necrotizing enterocolitis after ingesting any of the following formulas.

  • Similac NeoSure
  • 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

Steps to Take If Your Child Has Necrotizing Enterocolitis

If you suspect that your child has NEC, whether from their formula or as a result of medical malpractice, there are steps you can take to file a successful lawsuit. Firstly, collect all medical records related to your child’s treatment as they contain crucial evidence about the care provided and any potential negligence. Additionally, documenting instances of negligence, such as delayed diagnosis or treatment of NEC, can further strengthen your case.

It is also important to have a formal diagnosis of NEC for your child in order to prove that it caused damage. You likely already have a diagnosis at this point, but we can help arrange with healthcare providers if you are unsure who to visit.

If you do, in fact, have an NEC case, it is important to work with our skilled Mount Airy personal injury attorneys who have the experience to provide the legal representation you need. We can help gather evidence and get expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. NEC cases can be extremely challenging for those not versed in the issues involved.

Proving Liability in a Necrotizing Enterocolitis Lawsuit

When determining liability for NEC, it is crucial for parents to establish certain important factors. One such factor that could contribute to your case is the lack of informed consent. Medical professionals are obligated to obtain informed consent from parents before conducting any medical procedures on their children. If a healthcare provider failed to properly inform you of the potential risks associated with your child’s care, this could contribute to liability in an NEC case.

Further, healthcare providers are required to meet a specific standard of care when treating patients. In the event that your child develops NEC as a result of your healthcare provider’s failure to meet this standard, they should be held responsible.

We also have the resources to look into the cow milk manufacturers and suppliers that might have contributed to your child’s condition. In most cases, it will take the help of an attorney to obtain records from these companies.

Compensation You Can Claim for Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Maryland

The effects of necrotizing enterocolitis go beyond physical harm and can result in financial strain, emotional distress, and major adjustments to your family’s lifestyle. Thus, you can claim a wide scope of damages through legal action. The following damages are frequently sought in necrotizing enterocolitis lawsuits:

Medical Expenses

In cases of necrotizing enterocolitis, medical expenses make up a significant portion of the damages incurred. These expenses encompass immediate costs like hospital bills, medication, and home care. Additionally, long-term medical expenses are also covered, which can include ongoing occupational therapy, physical therapy, and other treatments required by the child’s condition.

Lost Wages

Compensation for lost wages is a significant aspect of damages. In cases where a necrotizing enterocolitis injury leads to a permanent disability that affects the child’s ability to work in the future, lost wages may be granted. For instance, if the injury results in a severe physical disability that prevents the child from pursuing specific jobs, the damages would include the estimated loss of income from such opportunities.

It is worth noting that the mother may be entitled to claim lost wages in the event that their child’s condition hinders their ability to return to work. This could include taking time off or requiring special accommodations from their employer to attend to their child’s needs.

Special Care

Specialized care may be necessary for children with necrotizing enterocolitis. This may involve expenses such as hiring caregivers, making home modifications to meet the child’s needs, and providing special education services. In case of loss of hand function, modifications like handrails or customized vehicles for one-handed driving may be included in the damages. Additionally, expenses related to special education needs or therapeutic services for the child to adapt to their disability can also be covered.

Pain and Suffering

The term “pain and suffering” encompasses the physical discomfort and emotional distress that both the child and their family endure as a result of the child’s condition. This includes factors such as anxiety, depression, and reduced quality of life. When a child or parent experiences ongoing pain or anxiety due to the injury, it may impact the amount awarded for pain and suffering.

Other Non-Economic Damages

There are other non-economic damages that victims can claim. Compensation for the loss of companionship aims to address the negative effects of a child’s injury on their relationships and way of life. This could include the inability to engage in social activities or form connections as they would have without the injury. Furthermore, damages for humiliation or embarrassment resulting from physical disabilities or disfigurements caused by the injury can also be sought. It’s worth noting that parents can claim these damages as well since their child’s injury can impact their lives in the same ways.

If Your Baby Has Developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis After Ingesting Cows’ Milk Baby Formula, Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

For a free case assessment with our Rockville personal injury lawyers, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.