Infant Formula Tied to Digestive Problems in Premature Babies

Imagine finding out that your baby’s food, instead of providing nourishment, is actually causing harm. This is the reality for thousands of parents who fed their premature infants baby formula made by Abbot Laboratories and Mead Johnson & Company.

Parents of premature infants often discover that breastfeeding is difficult or even impossible or find that they need to supplement breastfeeding with formula. Many parents feed their newborn formula made by Abbot Laboratories and Mead Johnson & Company and sold under the names Enfamil and Similac, believing these products to be safe for babies of all ages. Unfortunately, these products have been discovered to cause serious and sometimes permanent health problems, especially in premature infants (those born at less than 32 weeks).

Because premature infants’ digestive systems are often underdeveloped, infants who ingest cow milk-based formula are at risk of developing a serious condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). While the condition may occur in any infant, the risk is greater for premature infants since their intestines may be underdeveloped. If the stomach or intestines are not able to properly digest food, the tissue in those organs may deteriorate, allowing bacteria to pass into the baby’s bloodstream, or waste to pass into the baby’s abdomen. Symptoms of NEC include diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, abnormal breathing, pain, and changes in blood pressure. Surgery may be necessary to remove infected tissue, including portions of the baby’s intestines. In some cases, the condition can be fatal. In other cases, permanent damage may be done to the digestive system, leading to lifelong complications.

Medical literature has warned about the connection between cow milk-based formula and NEC for decades, causing parents to question why the manufacturers of these formulas continue to market these products as safe for premature infants, and why they have failed to include warning labels on their products, especially when the products are intended to be given to premature infants. The lack of warnings by both physicians and manufacturers has led many parents to pursue legal action against medical professionals and manufacturers for damages caused by these formulas to their infants, and, in some cases, for wrongful death directly attributed to NEC.

If your baby has been diagnosed with NEC and has been fed milk-based formula, call the personal injury experts at Mirman, Markovitz & Landau, PC at 212-227-4000 for a free case evaluation, or visit our website for more information.