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Maryland Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) Lawsuits

Pump and premature baby feeding in hospital.

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a medical condition affecting some infants who are fed cow’s milk-based baby formula. NEC primarily affects premature babies, but any newborn could develop the disease. Sadly, many of these cases are avoidable. In recent years, both medical malpractice and manufacturer negligence have been linked to necrotizing enterocolitis in preemies.

NEC results from a severe inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Left untreated, the disease can lead to tissue death, preventing the newborn from holding waste properly and allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream with potentially fatal consequences.

Lawsuits filed against baby formula manufacturers Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories allege the companies knew about the risks of NEC for babies who drink bovine baby formula but failed to disclose warnings to consumers. Instead, they supplied the public with the formulas despite the risks and known health problems premature infants could face.

Legal claims may also be possible against healthcare providers who should have detected signs of NEC in premature babies and treated the condition immediately. An experienced Maryland medical malpractice lawyer from The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson M.D., J.D. & Associates can determine whether you have a case. Give us a phone call or contact us via the contact form today for a private and free consultation.

What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?

Typically, NEC affects premature babies born before 32 weeks of gestation. However, full-term babies can also develop the disease, often within two to four weeks after birth. NEC is basically a condition where the intestinal wall dies. That is the “necrotizing” in NEC. Bacteria make their way into the wall of the intestine. The wall becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes a crack or gap that allows germs to invade the abdomen. Infection sets in. A serious infection could develop without adequate treatment and lead to the baby’s death.

Symptoms of NEC can range from mild to severe or life-threatening.

The most common symptoms of NEC include:

  • Feeding problems
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Slow digestion
  • Constipation
  • Dark or bloody stool and diarrhea
  • Green or yellow vomit
  • Lethargy
  • Breathing problems or unstable body temperature
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Hypotension

Complications could arise in newborns suffering from NEC, including:

  • Abdominal infection: Holes (perforations) could occur in the intestinal wall. Peritonitis is an infection that can develop from bacteria entering the abdominal cavity through the hole in the intestinal wall.
  • Short bowel syndrome: Absorbing nutrients and fluids is challenging for some newborns due to the damage to the small intestine. They could require tube feedings to receive the nutrition they need to grow.
  • Intestinal stricture: An intestinal stricture is a narrowing of the intestine. Food can’t pass through the intestine easily, often requiring surgery to open the narrowed area.
  • Developmental and growth problems: Infants requiring surgery to treat symptoms of NEC could experience developmental delays and poor neurodevelopmental outcomes.

NEC is not always due to a medical provider or hospital’s negligence. However, providers are responsible for monitoring newborns for signs of the disease and providing intervention as soon as possible. If your baby suffered long-term injuries due to NEC, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can determine whether you have a valid necrotizing enterocolitis lawsuit.

What is the Connection Between Bovine Formulas and NEC in Newborns?

Many experts and medical providers studied the causal link between NEC and cow’s milk-based formulas. Although they aren’t entirely sure why infants develop the intestinal disease from certain baby formulas, they know a premature newborn’s lungs and intestines are weak. They also can’t break down food or fight infection compared to babies carried to full term.

In 2011, the U.S. Surgeon General released a Call to Action encouraging breastfeeding newborns. The statement mentions that premature babies are 138 percent more likely to develop NEC if not fed human breast milk.

A later study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics reiterated the potentially dangerous effects of premature infants consuming bovine formulas. According to researchers, feeding newborns breast milk instead could reduce the risk of an NEC diagnosis.

However, not all mothers can adequately produce enough breast milk to meet a premature infant’s nutritional needs. Many children need extra food for optimal weight gain and growth. Doctors may need to supplement the baby’s diet with baby formula feedings in these cases. However, cow’s milk-based formulas have proven dangerous.

What Baby Formula Products Can Cause NEC?

Two major manufacturing companies are at the center of lawsuits around the country. Mead Johnson Nutrition and Abbott Laboratories, Inc. manufacture baby formula that can cause NEC in babies. If your newborn consumed any of these baby formulas, reach out to The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson M.D., J.D. & Associates immediately to determine if you qualify for an NEC lawsuit in Maryland.

Mead Johnson

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

Abbott Laboratories

  • Similac Human Mil Fortifier Hydrolyzed Protein Concentrated Liquid
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier
  • Similac Alimentum Expert Care
  • Similac NeoSure
  • Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
  • Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
  • Similac Special Care 24
  • Similac Special Care 30
  • Similac Special Care 20

How Much Compensation Can You Get from an NEC Lawsuit?

The amount of compensation you could receive in a lawsuit against the negligent baby formula manufacturer or medical provider depends on the circumstances of your case. No lawyer can ethically guarantee the amount of money you should expect from a verdict or settlement. Instead, they can provide you with a reasonable estimate after evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your case.

Contact a Maryland Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) Lawyer Today

The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson M.D., J.D. & Associates have more than 30 years of experience tackling the most complex injury claims. We’re not afraid to pursue legal action against doctors, hospitals, and large corporations for you. When you hire us, you count on our aggressive legal team to go to battle in pursuit of the compensation and justice you deserve.

Call or contact us today for a free consultation with a Maryland NEC baby formula attorney.

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