Examples Of Lawsuits Against Similac & Enfamil Manufacturers In Madison County Va
Elizabeth Miller, on her own behalf and as representative of the Estate of Hope Miller, Allyson Butler, on her own behalf and as representative of the Estate of Nihyalee Robison and Cayla Page, on her own behalf and on behalf of her minor child Keymanni Figures, filed a complaint June 3 in the Madison County Circuit Court, VA against Mead Johnson & Company LLC, Mead Johnson Nutrition Company and Abbott Laboratories, alleging strict liability for design defect, strict liability for failure to warn, negligence and other claims.
Jahaana Dillard, on her own behalf and as representative of the Estate of Moses Dillard, Rebecca Hoff, on her own behalf and as representative of the Estate of Nivla Reaux, Michelle McCoy, on her own behalf and as representative of the Estate of Kameron McCoy, and others filed a complaint May 24 in the Madison County Circuit Court, VA against Mead Johnson & Company LLC, Mead Johnson Nutrition Company and Abbot Laboratories, alleging strict liability for design defect, strict liability for failure to warn, negligence, intentional misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation.
Can Nec Be Prevented
Unlike some other birth injuries or conditions, the exact cause of NEC remains unknown. Therefore, it is difficult to predict or prevent. However, giving premature babies breastmilk can reduce the risk of NEC. Also, regulating the amount of breastmilk after the baby is stable and slowly increasing how much the baby eats can help.
Doctors should monitor premature babies closely for signs of NEC a healthcare professional should watch for signs of necrotizing enterocolitis and immediately begin treatment if the baby appears to have NEC.
Parents who are concerned that their doctors missed NEC or caused their baby to be injured or harmed because of medical malpractice or medical negligence should contact a birth injuries lawyer in Boston.
Common birth injuries include, but are not limited to:
What Are The Symptoms Of Necrotizing Enterocolitis
NEC typically occurs two to six weeks after birth, depending on the type and cause. Symptoms may come on over a few days or appear suddenly in babies who otherwise seem to be doing well.
NEC is a common problem among infants in NICUs. Your babys care team will be on the lookout for signs of this problem.
Symptoms of NEC include:
- Refusing to eat and lack of weight gain.
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Review Of The Literature
A comprehensive review of literature using the databases PubMed, CINAHL, EBSCO, and Web of Science was conducted using the key words necrotizing enterocolitis,risk,clinical profile, and risk factors. Additional relevant research articles were identified from the bibliographies of selected research articles. Literature reviewed included research articles, reviews, and those related to clinical management.
Understanding Nec In Newborns
NEC most commonly develops in infants who are born prematurely, or those with low birth weight. It is important to understand that there are varying degrees of prematurity, and the more premature the newborn is, the more vulnerable he or she is. Medical standards consider newborns premature based on the following:
- Late Preterm: Born between 34 and 36 weeks gestation
- Moderately Preterm: Born between 32 and 34 weeks gestation
- Very Preterm: Born at 32 weeks gestation or earlier
- Extremely Preterm: Born 25 weeks gestation or earlier
The earlier a baby is born, the greater the risk of complications and medical problems. Premature newborns do not have mature bodily functions and systems like full-term babies. As a result, even a minor complication can cause serious injuries.
Birth weight is also a risk factor for NEC. Infants who are premature certainly have low birth weight, but even full-term newborns can weigh less than is optimal. The average birth weight for newborns in the U.S. is 7.5 pounds. However, 5.5 to 10 pounds is considered in the normal range.
NEC most commonly develops in infants who weigh less than 1,500 grams, or 3.3 pounds. It occurs in around 10% of infants in this weight range.
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Why Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis A Concern
Damage to the intestinal tissues can cause a hole to form in the intestines. This lets the bacteria living inside the intestinal tract to leak out into the abdominal cavity and cause infection. The damage may only exist in a small area or it may expand to large areas of the intestine. This can happen very quickly. An infection in the intestines is hard for a baby to fight. Even with treatment, there may be serious problems. Some of these problems are:
- A hole forming in the intestine
- Scars or strictures forming in the intestine
- Failure to use food and nutrients. This can happen if large amounts of intestine must be removed, leading to short bowel syndrome.
- Severe, overwhelming infection.
Who Is At Risk For Necrotizing Enterocolitis
- The bodies of premature babies are smaller and weaker. This means they may have difficulty with blood and oxygen circulation, digestion and fighting infection. This increases their chances of developing NEC.
- High-risk babies, especially premature babies, who are fed milk by mouth or tube feedings are more likely to get NEC. Babies who are fed breast milk are less likely to get NEC. It is rare in babies who havent started feeding yet.
- Babies who have gone through a difficult delivery or had low oxygen levels at birth are more likely to get NEC. When there is too little oxygen, the body sends the most blood and oxygen to the brain and heart first, reducing blood flow to the intestinal tract. This can cause less oxygen in blood reaching the colon.
- Babies with too many red blood cells in the circulation are at an increased risk of developing NEC.
- Babies with infections in the intestine are also more likely to get NEC.
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Makes Of Similac And Enfamil Failed To Warn About The Nec Risks
Similac is manufactured and sold by Abbott Laboratories Inc., a large medical device and health care product company based in Illinois. You have likely heard of them. You are less likely to have heard of Mead Johnson Nutrition Company, the company that makes Enfamil. But it is a 16 billion-dollar company.
Both Abbott and Mead were well aware of the scientific evidence establishing that their cow-milk-based formulas caused a significantly increased risk of NEC in premature infants. Despite being well aware of the link between their formulas and the risk of NEC, Abbott and Mead deliberately chose not to include a warning label about the NEC risk on their product labeling.
Why? Well, lets start by saying we do not know yet. These baby formula lawsuits are just beginning. But, usually, follow the money. A warning will lead to fewer sales. Fewer sales lead to fewer profits and few yachts. We all know the story, right?
In the face of growing scientific proof that their formulas presented an increased risk for premature infants to develop NEC, Mead and Abbott continue to market their products as safe and failed to warn consumers about this risk.
What Can I Expect
Most babies who develop NEC recover fully and do not have further feeding problems. In some cases, the intestine is scarred, narrowed, or blocked. If so, more surgery might be needed.
Malabsorption can be a lasting problem from NEC. It’s more common in babies who had part of their intestine removed. A baby with malabsorption may need nutrition delivered directly into a vein until the intestine heals well enough to tolerate normal feeding.
If your baby has NEC, it’s normal to worry. And not being able to feed your baby can be frustrating infants are so small, it just doesn’t feel right to stop feedings or take away that precious bonding time. But that might be the best thing for your baby during treatment. And remember, there’s a good chance that your baby will be back on regular feedings soon.
In the meantime, ask a member of your care team what you can do to care for and bond with your baby. There are ways you can help. Members of your care team are eager to support parents of preemies, as well as the preemies themselves, on the path to recovery.
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A Note From Cleveland Clinic
It can be upsetting to see your premature baby have a setback like NEC when they seem to be doing well. Care teams in NICUs have training to spot this problem and act quickly. Some babies get better with minimal treatment. Children who need surgery often go on to lead full lives. Some children have chronic digestive problems.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What caused my babys NEC?
- What type of NEC does my baby have?
- What is the best treatment for my baby?
- What are the treatment complications?
- What are the long-term effects of NEC?
- Does my baby need a special diet?
- Should I look out for signs of complications when I bring my baby home?
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What Causes A Premature Baby To Develop Necrotizing Enterocolitis
NEC is a mystery. Doctors are not sure why some premature babies develop necrotizing enterocolitis.
Some reasons that a baby could develop the condition might include:
- A lack of oxygen and blood to the infants intestinal tissues
- Bacteria from the environment
Several factors can put a baby at a higher risk for developing NEC, especially premature birth and low birth weight. Premature babies who drink formula instead of breast milk also appear to be at risk for developing NEC. Human milk is easier for the baby to digest and contains substances that help the baby fight infections.
Low oxygen levels at birth and difficult labor and deliveries also increase the odds of NEC. When a babys body does not receive enough oxygen, the body sends oxygen to the heart and brain first. The intestines may not receive enough oxygen, causing damage to the tissues in the colon.
If a baby has an infection or the damage to the colon tissue is severe, a hole may form in the intestinal wall, which allows liquids to leak into the babys abdomen. This situation is extremely dangerous and can result in severe, life-threatening infections.
Whats The Outlook For Nec
Most infants with this condition fully recover. In some cases, the bowel is scarred or it narrows. This may lead to a future blockage. Babies whove had a large piece of their intestine removed in surgery may not be able to absorb nutrients normally. In the most severe cases, they may need a bowel transplant in order to live.
Right now, theres no way to prevent NEC. But studies show that babies who were only fed breast milk , were less likely to develop this disease. Thats why doctors recommend feeding at-risk infants breast milk, starting with small amounts. Many NICU’s are now using donor breast milk when there is none available from the mother in order to reduce the incidence of NEC
Researchers are working on promising new treatments for NEC. Among them: probiotics, which are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, to counteract the bacteria that cause the infection, and blocking nitric oxide. Thats a gas which is produced as a result of NEC. It helps to destroy the wall of the intestine.
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What Are Expected Nec Baby Formula Lawsuits Settlement Compensation Amounts
These NEC baby formula product liability lawsuits are new. But families have been filing medical malpractice lawsuits in necrotizing enterocolitis lawsuits for years. So the settlement compensation in these lawsuits, if successful, has a history that can guide us in determining possible settlement amounts in these lawsuits.
The average verdict in a successful NEC preemie lawsuit is in the millions of dollars. Our baby formula lawyers anticipate similar compensation payouts if plaintiffs win these trials.
But our guess is that you will not see Similac lawsuits or Enfamil lawsuits going to trial. I think the makers of these formulas will seek an out-of-court global settlement of as many NEC lawsuits as they can.
Settlement amounts and trial amounts are not the same thing, however. So even if the makers of Similac and Enfamil predicted an average jury verdict compensation payout of $2 million per individual case, it would not mean the average settlement amount would be $2 million. Why? A settlement is a compromise.
Journal Of Pediatrics Study
Ten years later, a study in the Journal of Pediatrics reached similar conclusions and found that infants fed with breast milk or human milk fortifiers were 90% less likely to develop NEC compared to those fed with traditional formula. 2 additional studies were published in 2013 which reached even more conclusive results about the link between NEC and bovine formulas.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Necrotizing Enterocolitis
Generally, the doctor will first examine the baby and check for a swollen belly or other NEC symptoms.
They may also order further tests to verify this condition, including:
- A blood test to check for signs of infection or bacteria
- A fecal test to check if there is blood in the babyâs stool
- An X-ray to view the abdomen and check for signs of NEC, such as gas air bubbles around the intestine or the abdominal cavity, which can indicate perforation or a damaged bowel
If the doctors catch NEC early enough, the condition can often be treated without the need for surgery.
These treatment options include:
- Using antibiotics and intravenous fluids
- Removing air and fluid from the intestines and stomach
- Monitoring the healing of the intestinal tissue through the use of X-rays
However, if the child has a severe case of NEC, the infant may need surgery to remove the damaged bowel or intestine. A surgeon may also need to perform a procedure to connect part of the intestine to an opening on the abdomen or drain the peritoneal cavity.
What Are The Complications Of Necrotizing Enterocolitis
An infant with NEC is at risk for other problems, such as:
- Abdominal infection: Some infants develop a hole in the intestinal wall. This perforation allows bacteria to enter the abdominal cavity. An infection called peritonitis can result. Peritonitis increases the risk for a life-threatening blood infection called .
- Intestinal stricture: As many as 1 in 3 babies develop intestinal strictures. A stricture narrows the intestines. This condition typically occurs a few months after a baby recovers from NEC. A narrowed intestine makes it difficult for food to pass through. Some children need surgery to open up the intestine.
- Short bowel syndrome: If NEC destroys or damages part of the small intestine, a child may develop short bowel syndrome. This condition makes it hard for the body to absorb fluids and nutrients . Children with short bowel syndrome need lifelong care to get the right nutrition to grow. Some children need tube feedings.
- Growth failure and developmental delays: Important long-term complications are growth failure, poor neurodevelopmental outcomes and developmental delays, especially in infants who required surgery. These infants require close follow-up to monitor growth and development.
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