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Enfamil and Similac Linked to Serious Disease in Premature Babies

Necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, is a serious gastrointestinal disease that affects the intestines of premature infants. Necrotizing means causing the death of tissues. It can happen to any newborn baby, but it is typically found in those that are premature or underweight. Many premature and underweight newborns have trouble breastfeeding, so parents turn to formula to get them the extra nutrients. Parents count on these formulas to be safe, but, tragically, that is not the case with the cow’s milk-based formula brands Similac and Enfamil.

Parents are suing the manufacturers of Enfamil and Similac because they failed to warn parents and medical providers about the risk that their products could cause NEC in infants. Similac and Enfamil have still not been recalled, and the manufacturers, Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson & Company respectively, have yet to even include warning labels on their products.

Could your child have NEC? Fortunately, NEC is rare, and affects just one in 2,000 to 4,000 births, according to Web MD.

Formula-fed preterm babies are six to ten times more likely to develop NEC than preterm infants who were given breast milk, according to this study. NEC typically develops in the first two weeks of life in newborns who weigh less than 3.25 pounds.

Symptoms of NEC include: (According to Kid'sHealth)

  • a swollen, red, or tender belly

  • trouble feeding

  • food staying in the stomach longer than expected

  • constipation

  • diarrhea and/or dark or bloody stools (poop)

  • being less active or lethargic

  • a low or unstable body temperature

  • green vomit (containing bile)

  • apnea (pauses in breathing)

  • bradycardia (slowed heart rate)

  • hypotension (low blood pressure)

If not treated, NEC can lead to serious infection and death. In some cases, surgery is necessary to attempt to repair the newborn’s abdominal and intestinal damage. It is the 10th leading cause of death for babies less than one year old, according to the CDC.

If your infant developed NEC after being fed one of the formulas from Similac and Enfamil – or a different cow’s milk-based formula – contact one of the experienced Attorneys at Fiffik Law Group. We will help you get answers and seek justice for the harm done to your children.


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