Premie NEC Risks
Baby Formula Linked to Necrotizing Enterocolitis
Research shows that baby formula increases the risk of NEC in premature infants. In fact, preterm babies who are fed with commercial, cow milk-based formulas develop NEC at a rate double their breast milk-fed counterparts. Manufacturers of baby formula for preterm infants have been aware of the risk of NEC from baby formula for several years, yet have never included a warning for necrotizing enterocolitis on baby formula product labels. Attorneys handling premie NEC lawsuits believe parents and families of preterm infants who developed NEC after using baby formula may be eligible for significant compensation. This page provides a comprehensive look at premie NEC risks from baby formulas like Similac and Enfamil.
Preterm Baby Formula
Preterm babies are newborns who are born prior to week 37 of gestation. Due to a shorter window of development, "premies" may suffer a variety of health problems linked to their immature immune, gastrointestinal, cardiac or respiratory systems. Premies are also often underweight. Low birth weight babies and preterm infants are both at risk for developing necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, which is a severe disease of the gastrointestinal tract characterized by damage to the gut wall lining.
While all preterm infants are at risk for NEC, the use of cow milk formula increases the risk of NEC substantially. About 40% of cases require surgical intervention and 15-40% of the infants who develop NEC from formula or for another reason, will die from it.
Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Premature Infants
The exact cause of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in premature infants is unknown, but a number of factors likely contribute. The gastrointestinal tract of preterm infants is underdeveloped, compromising the system's integrity and function. In general, NEC may be linked to inflammation, ischemia, or abnormal gut mitochondria. But while all preterm infants run the risk of developing NEC, the use of cow-based baby formulas has been proven to increase the risk of NEC considerably.
The use of cow milk baby-based baby formula increases the risk of NEC to preterm babies by twofold. Yet the manufacturers of Enfamil and Similac never warned parents of the NEC baby formula risk.
NEC Premie Formula Risk
Research has proven that breast milk is the safest source of nutrition for preterm infants. Commercial formulas created specifically for pre-term infants such as Similac Special Care, Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier, and Enfamil NeuroPro EnfaCare Infant Formula are formulated to provide equivalent calories and nutrients to the breast milk a mother would naturally produce for a preterm infant, and these products are in wide use in many hospital settings.
Yet what baby formulas lack are other essential substances found in human breast milk that help an underdeveloped GI tract function. As a result, these cow milk-based premie formulas double the risk of NEC, according to a 2018 Cochrane Review of previous research.
Because of the enhanced risk of NEC from premie baby formula, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that preterm infants should be fed with human breast milk. If the mother is not able to breastfeed, human breast milk can be obtained through a milk bank.
Who can file a NEC Formula Lawsuit?
Families whose child developed NEC or necrotizing enterocolitis while using an infant baby formula may be eligible to file a claim against the manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil. Click here to learn more.
Symptoms and Treatments for Premie Baby Formula NEC
NEC from premie formula is a life-threatening disease that can worsen quickly. The condition begins when the gut wall becomes injured or inflamed. Without intervention, the injury can advance to necrosis or tissue death. Finally, the tissue death can result in a perforation or hole in the gut wall, causing bacterial leakage into the abdomen or bloodstream. When an infant reaches this stage of NEC from baby formula, there is a risk for life-threatening infection.
Throughout these stages, treatments may include stopping feeding for a period of time, the draining of air and fluid from the stomach and intestine, IV and antibiotics, and x-rays. When these interventions don't work to resolve premie formula NEC, the last line of treatment is surgery to remove dead intestinal tissue. Between 20 and 40% of cases require surgery, and 25-50% of preterm infants who develop NEC do not survive.
Symptoms of Baby Formula NEC include:
- Swollen, red, tender abdomen
- Trouble feeding
- Diarrhea and/or dark/bloody stools
- Low temperature
- Green vomit
- Slowed heart rate
- Low blood pressure
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Premie Necrotizing Enterocolitis Lawsuits
Filing a lawsuit will allow you to hold the pharmaceutical company accountable for damage it has caused you or a loved one, while also providing real compensation for your medical expenses, suffering and loss. Contact us today for a free consultation.