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Att: Parents of Children with NEC
Attention: Parents of Children with NEC

Certain baby formulas have been linked to necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)

If your child developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after consuming toxic baby formula, you may qualify for Significant Financial Compensation!
Baby drinking from bottle
If your child developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after consuming toxic baby formula, you may qualify for Significant Financial Compensation!

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Getting real about toxic baby formula: What you need to know about NEC

The joy of parenthood comes with a deep sense of responsibility, especially concerning our little ones' diet and health. Alarmingly, a serious condition known as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) has been linked to certain baby formulas, creating widespread concern among parents.
Parents smiling at newborn

What is necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)?

NEC is not your average tummy trouble. It is a severe condition that inflames and can severely damage a baby's intestines, mainly in those who are not exclusively breastfed and consume formula derived from cow's milk. The condition is dangerous and can turn life-threatening if not addressed swiftly.

Identifying the baby formulas under scrutiny

As a new parent, you’ve likely heard about Similac and Enfamil. But here's something you might not know — these popular baby formulas are made from cow's milk and they could be linked to a NEC in babies. This is especially important if your baby was born early.
Research, like Frontiers in Pediatrics’ 2022 animal study, shows us that not all formulas are created equal. They can affect your baby's tummy differently. Brands like Enfamil and Similac? They could have a higher chance of leading to NEC than breast milk does.
The study found that some formulas might be rougher on the tummy than others. For example, Similac Special Care, often used in hospitals for tiny babies to help them grow, was said to cause more tummy issues than another formula called NeoSure, which is for little ones who are already home from the hospital.

Have any baby formulas been recalled?

Yes, Abbott recalled several formulas in February 2022 following infections and again in October 2022 due to potential spoilage from improperly sealed bottles.
In February 2022, the first wave of recalls hit when Abbott pulled several of its formulas off the shelves. This action was a response to the tragic reports of infections caused by Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria, which led to the deaths of several infants. The formulas in question — Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare — were all traced back to the company’s Sturgis, Michigan, facility.
In response to this situation, Abbott temporarily shut down the Sturgis plant to investigate the source of contamination. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stepped in for inspection and found traces of Cronobacter bacteria in various spots within the plant, although, thankfully, none was detected in the formula samples they tested. This recall was significant enough to contribute to a nationwide shortage of baby formula, putting even more stress on parents across the country. The plant has since reopened and resumed production.
In October 2022, Abbott was in the spotlight again for another recall, this time involving certain lots of its ready-to-feed liquid formulas. The problem? Some of the bottles might not have been sealed correctly. This misstep raised concerns about spoilage and the potential for stomach problems if the formula was consumed.
The brands affected in the October recall included a range of products designed to cater to different nutritional needs:
  • Similac Pro-Total Comfort
  • Similac 360 Total Care
  • Similac 360 Total Care Sensitive
  • Similac Special Care 24
  • Similac Stage 1
  • Similac NeoSure
  • Similac water (sterilized)
  • Pedialyte electrolyte solution

Recognizing the signs of NEC in your baby

Knowing what signs to look for can truly be a lifesaver when it comes to NEC. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your baby, it's critical to get medical help right away:
  • Abdominal Pain: If your baby seems unusually uncomfortable or is crying more than usual, it could be a sign of pain in their belly.
  • Lethargy: A sudden lack of energy or sleepiness more than usual can be a warning sign.
  • Bloody Stool: This is a clear indicator something is not right with your baby's digestive system.
  • Feeding Difficulties: If your baby is struggling to eat or suddenly refuses to eat, it could be a symptom.
  • Swollen, Puffy Abdomen: An abdomen that looks or feels swollen can indicate inflammation or other problems inside.
  • Changes in Vital Signs: Watch for unusual changes in blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate.
  • Inability to Gain Weight: If your baby isn't gaining weight or is losing weight, it's a cause for concern.
  • Unstable Body Temperature: Fluctuations in your baby's body temperature can be a symptom of NEC.
  • Vomiting: Particularly if the vomit is yellow or green, it's a sign that your baby needs immediate medical attention.
In more severe cases or as NEC progresses, symptoms might include:
  • Generalized Swelling or Fluid Retention: This can be a sign of worsening NEC.
  • Low Blood Sodium Levels: An imbalance in electrolytes is a serious concern.
  • Kidney Problems and Excessive Potassium in the Blood: These symptoms indicate that NEC is affecting more than just the intestines.
If you spot any of these signs, don't wait. Early intervention can make a significant difference in outcomes for babies with NEC.

What increases a baby's risk of NEC?

As a new parent, it's crucial to be aware of the conditions that could affect your little one's health. Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious intestinal issue, particularly in premature infants. Let's break down what could increase your baby's risk of developing NEC:
  • Premature Birth: Babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy are more susceptible to NEC.
  • Low Birth Weight: Infants weighing less than 5.5 pounds face a higher risk.
  • Cow's Milk-Based Formulas: Formula feeding, especially with products based on cow's milk, can elevate the risk.
  • Underlying Illness or Infections: Babies dealing with serious illnesses or infections are at increased risk.
  • Hospital Conditions: Certain conditions within the hospital environment, like bacterial outbreaks, can contribute to the risk.
  • Blood Transfusions: There's evidence suggesting a link between transfusions and a heightened risk of NEC.
  • Low Blood Oxygen Levels at Birth: Babies who experience low oxygen levels during delivery may have a higher chance of developing NEC.
It's important to note that while NEC is more common in premature infants, with about one in 1,000 affected, it's relatively rare in full-term babies, occurring in about one in 10,000 cases. Most instances of NEC develop while the baby is still hospitalized.
There's a silver lining, though. Feeding premature babies with mother's milk or human milk from a donor may significantly reduce the risk of NEC. This emphasizes the protective benefits of breast milk and the importance of discussing feeding options with your healthcare provider, especially if your baby is at a higher risk for NEC.

Taking action against toxic baby formula

Discovering that your baby has developed NEC due to certain baby formulas can be heartbreaking. Knowing that there are legal avenues to pursue can offer a sense of direction during this challenging time. Many parents, faced with the daunting reality that their premature babies developed NEC after consuming formula brands like Enfamil or Similac, are taking legal action. Here's a closer look at the steps being taken:
  • Filing Lawsuits: Parents are filing lawsuits against formula manufacturers, specifically Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson, the companies behind Enfamil and Similac.
  • Seeking Justice: The lawsuits allege that these companies were aware, or should have been aware, of the risks associated with cow's milk-based formulas for preterm infants. Despite this knowledge, they continued to market and sell their products.
  • Demanding Transparency and Safety: These legal actions aim not only for compensation but also to push for greater transparency about the potential risks of these formulas and improve safety standards in infant nutrition.
The core of these lawsuits is the claim that the manufacturers failed to adequately warn both parents and healthcare providers about the risk of NEC linked to their cow's milk-based baby formulas. By pursuing legal action, affected families seek to hold these companies accountable and prevent similar incidents from happening to others.
If your child developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after consuming toxic baby formula, you may be entitled to compensation. Fill out the form on this page for more information.

Mass torts vs. class actions at a glance

When we're talking about mass tort and class action lawsuits, we're discussing two distinct legal approaches used to handle claims where many individuals are harmed by the same entity or event.
Mass tort lawsuits are a way to handle legal cases where many individuals have been harmed, but each person's situation is distinct. Think of it like a neighborhood where every house has different damage after a storm. In a mass tort, each homeowner would file their own lawsuit, but because the storm is the common factor, the court groups the lawsuits together to manage them more efficiently. The key here is that each person retains their own case and has a say in how it's settled, which reflects their unique damages.
In contrast, class action lawsuits bring people together under a single legal action. It's as if the whole neighborhood decided to sue the storm together, with one or a few neighbors representing everyone's interests. Here, individual control is limited. The representative, known as the lead plaintiff, along with their legal team, makes decisions that affect the entire group. When it comes to the payout, it's typically split evenly, or based on a formula that applies to all members.

What's best for you?

Let's quickly sum up the main points to help you decide which legal route could work better for your situation:
  • Control: More personal control in mass torts; limited control in class actions.
  • Compensation: Individualized in mass torts; uniform in class actions.
  • Applicability: Mass torts fit for varied individual damages; class actions for uniform damages across the group.
  • Efficiency: Class actions can be quicker and use fewer resources by combining claims.
So, if you're part of a group that's been wronged and you're thinking about legal action, consider these points. Do you need to maintain control over your case, or are you okay with a representative taking the lead? Do your damages require individual attention, or are they similar enough to others to share in a collective claim? Your answers will help determine whether a mass tort or a class action is the best route for your situation.