German chemist Justus von Leibig introduced his specially crafted baby formula in the late 1800s. Consisting of cow’s milk and a blend of wheat and malt flour with a dash of potassium bicarbonate, it ensured nutrition for babies who did not breastfeed.
Today, infant formula continues to solve nutritional issues for many families, but feeding it to premature babies can be risky. For example, some baby formulas can cause necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which is a potentially fatal infant illness.
What is NEC?
It is an inflammatory disease occurring in the intestines of primarily premature infants who are nourished with formula made from cow’s milk instead of with breast milk.
The illness allows bacteria to penetrate the gut, leading to inflammation. It can create a gap that allows germs to enter the abdominal cavity, and necrosis (death) of intestinal tissue may follow.
Although it usually impacts premature infants weighing less than 3.25 pounds, it can develop in any newborn. It typically arises within the first two weeks of life. Left untreated, the disease can result in severe infection or infant death.
Parents should be cautious with any brand of infant formula — but especially Enfamil and Similac, as these have been linked to NEC.
Is there a legal remedy?
Many parents of babies who died or were seriously sickened by NEC are filing product liability claims against infant formula manufacturers. One basis for such a claim is the failure of manufacturers to warn consumers about the risk of NEC on baby formula labels. That’s legally considered a marketing defect. Others include design and manufacturing defects.
In Michigan, parents have a limited time to file a product liability claim. Your family could obtain substantial compensation, which can help ease the financial burdens that arise when a child is severely ill. If your infant did not survive, a successful claim empowers you to hold those responsible for your tragic and preventable loss to account.