Baby Formula NEC Lawsuit

Baby Formula & NEC

Did your child suffer illness resulting in them being placed in the hospital while very young? Did your child consume formula made from powdered milk?

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a type of intestinal disease that causes an inflammatory reaction that can lead to damage to the intestinal tissue. It typically impacts infants that are premature or medically fragile. This condition can occur due to the presence of Cronobacter sakazakii, though there are other causes for NEC. Many children with this illness do not know the underlying cause; in some cases, it could be from the food they consume.

Recently, Cronobacter was found in infant formula, leading to a recall of Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare powdered formula products. This caused four children to suffer the NEC disease, leading to 2 deaths. The exposures were reported in Minnesota, Texas, and Ohio. The determination of the presence of Cronobacter in the powdered baby formula led to a significant recall. It could also indicate that other children have exposure.

Could your child have contracted NEC from formula?

Even if your child’s doctor did not state they had Cronobacter, they could have. If your child consumed powdered formula, let us provide you with insight into if your child could have suffered due to the presence of this bacteria.

Brief History

Baby Formula & NEC

How can baby formula lead to this sudden, complicated illness? For many, this investigation can be confusing and worrisome. Here’s a look at what happened and how others could be impacted. Here’s what happened.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded to consumer complaints or reports received between September 9, 2021, to February 2, 2022, of infants with an illness. The reporting children consumed powdered infant formula products produced by Abbott Nutrition in its Sturgis, Michigan manufacturing facility. The action led to the recalling of Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare infant formulas because of Cronobacter exposure risk.

The recalled products are identified by the 7-to-9-digit code and expiration date on the packaging. The recall impacted all products that met the following criteria:

  • The first two digits are 22 through 37 AND
  • The code has the combinations K8, S.H., or Z2, AND
  • The expiration date was April 2022 or later (expressed 4-1-2022)

Additionally, Abbott Nutrition recalled Similac PC 60/40, with Lot # 27032J80 in cans and Lot # 27032K800 in cases.

Abbott has recalled 26 Similac, 10 Alimentum, and 13 EleCare versions of its powdered baby formula products. These recalls are a direct result of the Cronobacter bacteria contamination investigation that could have led to illness and death in very young children.

Join the Many is working to support the needs of families impacted by this deadly exposure.

What Is Cronobacter and the Risk?

What Is Cronobacter and the Risk?

Cronobacter is a germ that’s naturally found in the environment. These germs can live in many dry foods, including powdered milk, powdered infant formula, starches, and herbal teas. In most cases, the bacteria do not cause serious illness, but they can put young, at-risk children at serious risk of health complications and death.

Cronobacter infections have happened numerous times and have been linked to powdered infant formulas in the past. According to the CDC, about 2 to 4 cases are reported in newborns in the first few days to weeks of life, but that may be a low figure since hospitals are not required to report the onset of these illnesses to their health departments. Many other children could have suffered from this exposure and do not know it.

If Cronobacter gets into powdered infant formula, it can thrive there. This can happen at the processing facility in various ways, including if the formula powdered touches some type of surface contaminated with the germ or if the manufacturer uses ingredients that are contaminated with the germ when producing the formula.

Overview

SEPSIS

How did this happen? Here’s what you need to know about the exposure.

In Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas, several cases of Cronobacter sakazakii infection were reported to the FDA. These infections occurred between September 6, 2021, and January 4, 2022. After the report of the illnesses, Abbott took action to voluntarily recall specific lots of baby formula because of suspected contamination or the risk that this could be occurring.

Each of the four children who were reported as having NEC as a result of Cronobacter sakazakii was hospitalized. Two of those children died.

This type of infection leads to life-threatening blood infections called sepsis. It also causes swelling in the membranes located around the spinal cord and brain, causing meningitis. The symptoms include poor feeding, temperature changes, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), irritability, abnormal movements, and grunting breaths. The infection may also cause bowel damage and spread through the blood to various other areas of the body.

The FDA states it is still investigating what occurred, but investigators have found five strains of Cronobacter sakazakii at the Sturgis, Michigan, manufacturing facility. However, when collecting product samples, the FDA did not find the presence of Cronobacter in the actual product as of the last update.

What could that mean to you?

If your child consumed formula from this manufacturer, and potentially others, they could have suffered exposure. Set up some time to speak to Join the Many with no risk to you.

More About the Risks of Cronobacter Infections and NEC

MENINGITIS

There is a real risk present that shouldn’t be overlooked even if your child is healthy today. The NEC Society states that thousands of children develop these infections each year and that hundreds of those children die from the condition. In some situations, the death of a child is not directly linked to the use of powdered baby formula, though this can still be the case. Still, NEC is a leading cause of death for infants in the U.S.

People who have a weakened immune system, or an underdeveloped immune system, may be most at risk for developing severe Cronobacter infections. Infants that are less than 2 months old are most likely to develop this condition, leading to meningitis.

Know Your Rights

Know Your Rights

If your child suffered a Cronobacter infection that resulted in NEC, you might have the legal right to pursue action against the manufacturer of the baby formula that your child was consuming at the time. It is not necessary to know for a fact that your child’s illness came from the formula – many people do not know the cause of their child’s exposure to this bacterium.

Remember – your doctor may not have told you that a Cronobacter infection was the cause of your child’s illness. Still, contact Join the Many to discuss your rights.

Lawsuits are pending in federal court now. You may have the right to compensation under these lawsuits.

Lawsuit History

Lawsuit History

Since the exposure of this disease, many people have come forward acknowledging their child suffered NEC and was given powdered formula. This is an evolving case, but thousands of people are impacted.

Since the recall and release of information regarding the NEC baby formula recall, many people have taken legal action. While at the time of this writing, none of the causes have resulted in a settlement, and many have yet to make it to court, there are numerous people filing lawsuits regarding the formula with the expectation of a significant outcome. There’s ample proof in many situations.

One legal firm is representing 12 NEC lawsuits that could be taken to trial, though they are still working on the legal steps towards doing so. In total, at this time, there are 97 pending lawsuits in federal court over baby formula related to this infection and recall, as well as others previous to this. This number could be much higher by the middle of 2023.

As noted, many children who have Cronobacter infections and develop NEC do not have their medical case reported to the health department, which means little, if any, type of investigation is done to understand where the infection resulted from. Many of these cases could be the result of other powdered formula contaminations that may extend outside of the batches recalled.

If you think this could be occurring to you, Join the Many wants to help connect you with the attorneys that can support your case.

Dozens of new cases are being added monthly to a pending federal baby formula class action lawsuit. There are several more individual cases throughout the country being pursued as well.

Do they really have a case?

Plaintiffs believe that baby formula manufacturers have the responsibility to create a safe product for children. Additionally, some plaintiffs believe that there was a failure to warn parents of the risks of NEC and other health conditions. This, specifically, is brought on by the science that seems to link bovine baby formulas, those developed with cow milk, to have a dangerous risk of neonatal medical conditions, including NEC.

According to some lawsuits, plaintiffs state that the makers of these products, such as Enfamil and Similac, knew of these risks and did not warn families about them or give them any choice in products.

Where are cases pending?

Currently, there are pending lawsuits in the Northern District of Illinois, and the Supreme Court of Illinois has granted to consolidate some of these individual lawsuits into a class action lawsuit. These lawsuits are taking action against Mead Johnson, who is the manufacturer of Enfamil products, and Abbott, the manufacturer of Similac.

There is the expectation that numerous new cases will be added to the class action lawsuit over the coming months, though the number is expected to drop off by mid-2023. Organizations are encouraging parents who may have had a child that suffered as a result of NEC and were using a powdered baby formula to come forward.

Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories have sought to create federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) for all related lawsuits for both Similac and Enfamil NEC lawsuits. There are still pending lawsuits with numerous judges in various U.S. District Courts throughout the country. A panel has been created for the new federal mass tort docket that would handle all claims of children who were suspected of being ill due to the baby formula incident.

At this time (August of 2022), a judicial Panel for Multidistrict litigation has transferred 18 lawsuits against Abbott formula, of which 17 of them are class action proposals, to U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly based in Chicago, Illinois.

Additionally, there is a separate MDL that includes 97 lawsuits with claims against Abbott that is pending before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer.

Both companies have stated they do not discuss pending litigation.

What Can You Do If You Feel Your Child Has Been at Risk?

What Can You Do If You Feel Your Child Has Been at Risk

If you feel that your child could be the victim of NEC due to the presence of Cronobacter infections, it is your right to take action. Your child may have suffered an illness while they were very young that resulted in hospitalization, or, in some tragic cases, the child may have died after having NEC. Did this happen to your child?

It is quite important to know that, even if your child was never determined to have gotten the Cronobacter infection from infant formula that this could have still been the case if they were using powdered formulas like those discussed here.

In situations like this, you may have the right to see financial compensation from the manufacturing companies that perhaps knew of the risk or did not do what could be expected as providing a safe product for children. These losses could involve financial compensation for the medical bills of the child as well additional funds should the child have died from the illness.

You have the right to demand justice. The lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson are just getting underway, and while they have yet to result in financial payouts to hurt parties just yet, that is because of the presence of so many people who are coming forward because they have suffered losses as well.

Take Action to Get Support in Your Baby Formula Case

Take Action to Get Support in Your Baby Formula Case

In situations like this, it is important for you to take action to protect your rights and ensure justice is served.

Additionally, you can be matched with a law firm that specializes in NEC cases, including baby formula cases like this. They will fight to protect your rights in a court of law and get justice for your family, including your child, who may have suffered long-term consequences from this condition.

Trusted Sources for More Information

For more information on NEC, Cornobacter sakazakii infections, and baby formula recalls, turn to the following trusted sources:

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