[2023 Guide] NEC Lawsuit: Common NEC Symptoms in Babies

You may qualify for the NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit if your child was diagnosed with NEC after consuming cow’s milk based baby formula.

Contact us for a free consultation or use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify instantly.

Common NEC Baby Symptoms to Watch for

If you’re dealing with the pressure of your baby’s preterm delivery, finding out that they have another major medical condition can be devastating.

Parents of premature babies should learn to recognize the common NEC symptoms in babies and subsequent complications.

Researchers have found that premature infants fed formula made from cow’s milk are more prone to developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) than those who are breastfed.

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You may be eligible to file a toxic baby formula lawsuit if:

  • Your child received baby bovine-based (cow’s milk) baby formula in the maternity ward or NICU of a hospital; or
  • You received bovine-based formula as a present from the hospital; and
  • Your child was subsequently diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

Contact the experienced baby formula lawyers from TorHoerman Law today for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for the NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit instantly.

In this article, we’ll discuss the common NEC symptoms in babies and other information you might need regarding this condition.

Table of Contents

What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a deadly disease that mostly affects premature newborns’ intestines. Invading bacteria in the intestines trigger a localized infection and swelling that can damage or even destroy the bowel’s protective lining.

When the intestinal wall is damaged to the point of rupture, stool can leak into the infant’s abdomen, causing an overwhelming infection that can quickly prove fatal.

What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?

The signs of a serious infection can be devastating on their own, especially for babies who are already weak.

Brain damage from fevers, organ dysfunction from necrosis, and the potential of spreading illness to those in immediate contact are all real possibilities.

Unfortunately, NEC is especially dangerous because it targets preterm and underweight newborns.

Out of the roughly 480,000 premature babies born each year in the United States, 9,000 are diagnosed with NEC.

In most cases, this is because small and preterm infants lack the opportunity to grow a thicker intestinal lining that would otherwise provide protection.

Other factors that can increase the risk of NEC include birth-related trauma and pre-existing illnesses.

Common Symptoms of NEC in Babies

If your baby was born prematurely, you’re probably already under a lot of stress as a parent.

You should not have to worry that the nourishment essential to their development could be harmful.

That’s why it’s crucial to be aware of the signs of NEC.

The signs and symptoms of NEC might vary from infant to infant, making it difficult for parents to tell the difference between common sickness and something more serious.

Symptoms of NEC in babies can appear suddenly or develop gradually over a few weeks.

Since they know their child best, parents are often the first line of defense against NEC.

Common Symptoms Of NEC In Babies

If your baby has had formula, be especially vigilant in monitoring for these common NEC symptoms in babies:

  • Feeding Problems: Difficulty with oral feedings is one of the earliest signs of NEC in infants. Babies with NEC will often refuse to eat, in stark contrast to typically developing infants.
  • Discomfort or bloating in the abdomen (abdominal distention): Since NEC can induce inflammation in the abdominal area, your baby’s belly may appear swollen.
  • Experiencing diarrhea with blood in the stool: Bloody diarrhea can be the result of a combination of factors, including a disruption in normal eating patterns and bowel inflammation.
  • Yellow or green vomit: Disturbance to the digestive process can cause bile to reflux from the liver into the stomach.

NEC can also cause excessive fatigue or irregular heartbeat, temperature, blood pressure, or breathing.

NEC Symptoms in Babies: Complications

Newborns with NEC are more likely to experience complications like:

  • Abdominal infection: The intestinal wall could develop holes. Intestinal perforation is a common entry point for bacteria that can cause peritonitis, an infection of the abdominal cavity.
  • Short bowel syndrome: Some infants have trouble absorbing nutrition and water because of small intestine damage. They might need to be fed through a tube to get the nutrients they need to develop normally.
  • Intestinal stricture: When the intestine gets narrower, this is called a stricture. Intestinal strictures make it difficult for food to flow through, demanding surgical intervention.
  • Issues with development and growth: It is possible that infants with NEC who need surgery to alleviate their symptoms would endure developmental issues and poor cognitive outcomes.

How To Confirm NEC Baby Symptoms

To find out if an infant has NEC, a physician may perform various tests.

Tests and medical examinations for NEC may include the following:

  • Blood test: Measures the number of white blood cells, looks for bacterial infections and measures blood flow.
  • Fecal test: Looks for blood that can’t be seen by the naked eye in the baby’s stool.
  • Abdominal X-rays: Can reveal NEC baby symptoms, such as air bubbles around the colon, which can also suggest a damaged intestine.

One-quarter of infants diagnosed with NEC will require intestinal removal due to necrotic tissue, as reported by the Cleveland Clinic.

When Do Babies Have a Higher Risk of NEC?

When a baby’s oxygen supply is low, the body goes into “triage mode,” redirecting blood and nutrients away from the digestive system and toward other, more urgent functions.

The decreased oxygen supply can impede intestinal development, making it ripe for the onset of NEC.

NEC can potentially exacerbate an already present intestinal infection.

As a result of the NEC’s perforations, invading bacteria from the intestine can spread throughout the body.

Infants typically develop NEC within the first few weeks of life.

This lines up with the time they are most likely to receive infant formula in the hospital.

If they can’t nurse or feed by mouth, they typically receive baby formula through a tube that goes into their stomachs.

Treating NEC: How is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) Treated by Doctors?

After conducting several medical examinations, including blood tests and fecal samples, an experienced doctor will now the best course of treatment for an NEC diagnosis.

Treating NEC: How is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) Treated by Doctors?

According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, treatment for NEC may include the following:

  • Stopping feedings
  • Inserting a nasogastric (NG) tube (nose into stomach) to keep the stomach empty
  • Intravenous fluids (IV) for fluid replacement and to absorb nutrients
  • Antibiotics to fight infection
  • Frequent x-rays to monitor the progress of the disease
  • Extra oxygen or mechanically assisted breathing
  • Isolation procedures (such as protective gowns and gloves) to stop the spread of the infection from the intestinal tract
  • Blood transfusion
  • Use of a breathing machine

In more severe NEC cases, babies with NEC may require surgery to have the intestine removed or conduct a bowel transplant, or connect intestinal tissue to an ostomy.

There are many medical treatments available to fight bacterial infections in your premature baby and an experienced child’s doctor should have the knowledge to combat the symptoms of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC).

NEC Risk Linked to Cow Milk Formulas in Premature Infants

Due to their underdeveloped immune systems, newborns are especially at risk for NEC. NEC affects roughly one in every 1,000 preterm infants.

NEC Risk Linked to Cow Milk Formulas in Premature Infants

In neonatal intensive care units (NICU), NEC is the leading cause of death from gastrointestinal causes in premature infants.

Premature newborns with NEC have a mortality rate between 20% and 50%.

Even though NEC’s underlying causes remain highly debated, peer-reviewed research has shown that preterm newborns who are fed breast milk have a significantly lower risk of developing NEC than those who are given infant formula made from cow’s milk.

A study published in The Lancet in 1990 found that premature babies who were exclusively given formula were 6 to 10 times more likely to develop NEC than breastfed infants.

There are many ways a premature infant could contract NEC, but the failure of a baby formula manufacturer to warn about the potential for NEC from their products is particularly worrying.

Mothers may need assistance with formula feeding if they’ve recently given birth prematurely and are still healing from the physical strain of labor.

Premature babies often have formula added to their diets, especially when the mother is unable to breastfeed due to complications during delivery.

Several popular brands of infant formula, including Similac and Enfamil, contain cow’s milk-based formulations that have been related to NEC.

There is a higher chance of NEC for infants who receive these products while in the hospital (or, subsequently, at home).

Though certain unfortunate instances of medical negligence have been linked to NEC, most doctors and nurses are committed to the safety of the infants in their care and take all necessary measures to avoid and identify NEC.

However, if NEC isn’t detected early, it might develop into a fatal infection that a baby’s underdeveloped immune system may be unable to fight off, leading to major difficulties, lifelong disabilities, or even death.

NEC Baby Formula Lawsuits

Parents in multiple states have filed lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson, the makers of Similac and Enfamil, respectively, for allegedly failing to warn about the dangers of giving cow’s milk formula to premature infants.

The lawsuits further claim that the defendants falsely advertised their products as “comparable” to human milk when, in reality, premature infants were at a higher probability of suffering NEC when fed these formulas.

NEC Baby Formula Lawsuits

If your or a loved one’s child was fed cow’s milk based baby formula and was subsequently diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and secure compensation.

Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation.

You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for an NEC Lawsuit instantly.

The increasing volume of claims may eventually lead the court to consolidate them into a single district court (multidistrict litigation).

A mass tort is different from a class action lawsuit.

Those who file claims in a mass tort proceeding are recognized as distinct individuals and are afforded the same protections as they would be in an individual lawsuit.

TorHoerman Law: Your Baby Formula Lawyer

Our team of baby formula lawyers are prepared to hear your story and help you file a lawsuit on your child’s behalf.

We understand the immense trauma that can be associated with situations like this, and we are ready to serve you.

TorHoerman Law: Your Baby Formula Lawyer

Those who have had their children diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed cow’s milk baby formula in a hospital’s NICU or maternity ward or who were given bovine-based formula as a gift from the hospital may qualify to file a toxic baby formula lawsuit.

For more information or answers to commonly asked questions, visit this page.

Contact TorHoerman Law’s experienced baby formula lawyers for a no-cost initial consultation.

You can use the chatbot to see if you qualify for the NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit instantly.

Let us handle the legal battle for you so you can concentrate on what matters — your child’s well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is NEC?

    Necrotizing enterocolitis is a gastrointestinal disease that almost exclusively affects infants born before the 37th week of pregnancy (premature babies).

    It creates intestinal inflammation, causing cells to die and holes to form.

    This then allows harmful and potentially deadly bacteria to leak in and infect the intestines.

  • Does Baby Formula Cause NEC?

    Studies have linked bovine-based / cow’s milk formulas to an increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants.

  • How Do I File A Claim In The NEC Lawsuit?

    To file a claim in the NEC lawsuit, you should speak with a qualified attorney who can help determine your eligibility and guide you through the claims process.

    If you believe you may qualify for the Toxic Baby Formula Lawsuit, you can use the chatbot on this page for an instant and free case review to see if you qualify to file a Baby Formula Lawsuit.

  • Is There A Deadline (Statute Of Limitations) For Filing Toxic Baby Formula Lawsuits?

    Product liability lawsuits typically have a statute of limitations of two years, but these deadlines may be different depending on the state you are filing in and other circumstances.

    Contact an attorney for more individualized information on your NEC Lawsuit.

    An experienced lawyer possesses legal knowledge and resources to help you navigate relevant filing deadlines that may exist in your situation.

    Contact TorHoerman Law for a free, no-obligation consultation today.

Written By:
Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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