Baby formula has sadly made headlines in recent years as a result of shortages, plant closures, contamination, and lawsuits. A major infant formula class action lawsuit is ongoing against manufacturers Enfamil and Similac for their negligent failure to warn consumers and caregivers that their cow’s milk-based infant formulas could cause necrotizing enterocolitis (N.E.C.) in babies, particularly premature infants. Infants who develop N.E.C. can suffer severe, long-term, and sometimes fatal complications. You can find out more about this litigation here.
Incidents of N.E.C. need to be reported by caregivers, parents, and medical professionals. The parents of some injured babies have been able to take action, but there are many more parents who may not realize that their baby’s illness and suffering could have been avoided, or do not know that they could be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, at-home care costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. There are also parents-to-be who do not know about the risks of feeding cow’s milk-based infant formula to their baby. By reporting the harm caused to innocent babies by consuming infant formula with a known risk of severe illness, the families who are suffering can be helped, and more suffering and deaths can be prevented.
At Morris James, we are helping parents of babies who have developed N.E.C. after being fed cow’s milk-based Enfamil or Similac infant formula. If you or someone you know has a baby who developed N.E.C., we may be able to help. Contact one of our experienced attorneys for a no-obligation discussion of your legal rights and obligations.
What injuries have been caused by infant formula?
Newborn babies need appropriate nutrition and care. If they do not receive this, their tiny, developing bodies are vulnerable to life-threatening injuries and illnesses. The Enfamil and Similac baby formula products that were fed to the babies involved in this litigation were cow’s milk-based formula products. However, many studies have shown that feeding cow’s milk-based formula to an infant significantly increases the risk of that child developing N.E.C., and the manufacturers failed to warn parents and caregivers of this risk.
N.E.C. is a serious condition that affects the intestines of infants and can cause severe damage. It is caused by a breakdown in the protective barrier between the gut and the bloodstream, which allows harmful bacteria to enter the body. Symptoms may include abdominal distention, bloody stools, fever, vomiting, and poor feeding. If left untreated, N.E.C. can lead to long-term complications or death. Immediate medical attention is needed if an infant is suspected of having N.E.C. Treatment usually involves antibiotics and surgery to remove any damaged tissue in the intestines. The prognosis for infants with N.E.C. varies depending on the severity of the condition and how quickly it is diagnosed and treated. With early diagnosis and prompt medical attention, many infants can make a full recovery, however, many N.E.C. patients suffer from sepsis, lifelong developmental and cognitive problems, or do not survive at all.
Who should I tell if I suspect that a baby has been harmed by infant formula?
Whether you are a parent, family member, nurse, doctor, social worker, or other healthcare professional, you can and should report any concerns about harm caused by consuming infant formula. Telling the family and the public can help an injured infant get immediate medical treatment and long-term financial support, and can reduce the risk of the same thing happening to other babies.
The first and most important thing to do if a child is ill as a result of being fed infant formula is to make sure their parents or carers and healthcare team know. The health of the baby is the priority, and anything you know may help in treating the child. Tell the parents and doctors about your concerns so that they can give the infant the necessary care and treatment as soon as possible.
Secondly, you should report the issue to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) via their online reporting form or by calling 1-800-FDA-1088. The F.D.A. regulates medical and non-medical products, food, and drugs for the protection of the wider public. It can issue product recalls or warnings or initiate an investigation into the safety of the formula product. A parent, healthcare professional, or other concerned person can make a report to the F.D.A.’s MedWatch program, which is specifically designed for reporting serious adverse events, product quality problems, and product use issues related to any F.D.A.-regulated drug, biologic, medical device, dietary supplement, or cosmetic. Healthcare professionals should make sure to include any necessary details in the report, such as the age and gender of the infant, the brand of formula consumed, any symptoms exhibited, and any other relevant information. Timely reporting can help prevent further injuries to infants and ensure that appropriate action is taken to address potential risks.
You can also report concerns about infant formula to your local or state health department. They can monitor and investigate reports in your locality or region to ensure proper and accountable care for infants.
Holding infant formula manufacturers, like Enfamil and Similac, accountable for the quality of their product, including use instructions and warning labels, is crucial. When injuries by infant formula products are reported, it can help suffering families take action to expose the dangers of infant formula, and to recover much needed compensation for their injured babies.
Why should I have an attorney if my child has been injured by infant formula?
If your baby has been injured due to the use of cow's milk-based formula, you should get legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer, like the attorneys at Morris James, can review your case and advise you on any legal actions or claims that may be available to you. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, at-home care expenses, and pain and suffering. A lawyer can help you understand your rights, evaluate any potential claims, and provide guidance throughout the legal process.
A claim against an infant formula manufacturer can seem daunting because it involves complicated medical issues and huge companies with large resources, all at a time when you are dealing with a severely injured or deceased child. Your lawyer is there to help. They should deal with the manufacturers, insurers, and healthcare administrators on your behalf so that you can focus on your family’s healing. Your lawyer should also advise you on any settlement offers or negotiations so that you understand the amount of compensation that you are entitled to by law, and do not accept a lowball settlement offer that may not cover the cost of your child’s care into the future.
Are there any deadlines for reporting an injury by infant formula or filing a legal claim?
You should not delay reporting an injury by infant formula or calling a lawyer. Promptly reporting an injury by infant formula can help suffering and at risk families. Healthcare professionals and parents should both be aware of the potential risks associated with these formulas and take steps to ensure that infants are kept safe. There are also deadlines for bringing a legal claim, typically 2 or 3 years depending on the state, and if that time passes, an injured child’s parents will no longer be able to file a claim for the wrong done.
There is no reason to delay calling an attorney to find out more about your legal rights. You should be able to talk to a lawyer about your claim without any obligation or cost. Most lawyers will not charge for a first consultation, and many, including the lawyers at Morris James, will take your case on a contingency basis, which means that you do not pay any fees unless you win. Questions about fees, compensation, and the strength of your claim are all things that you can discuss with a lawyer in an initial consultation. Your baby is entitled to justice and fair compensation.
At Morris James, our attorneys have been protecting our clients’ legal rights since we opened our doors in 1932. If your child has been injured by infant formula or you have questions about infant formula litigation, see our Infant Formula Litigation FAQs or contact us online or at 302.655.2599 to learn more.