Baby Formula & Anguished Mothers: Identifying Symptoms & Filing a Lawsuit

In February 2023, The Daily Reporter reported that Mead Johnson Nutrition Company and Mead Johnson & Company LLC, owned by the Reckitt Benckiser Group, faced a jury trial. It happened right after a mother from Georgia, Shennice Joseph had filed a legal complaint that her premature son suffered from a severe ailment after using Enfamil Premature formula and died. The incident took place in the neonatal care unit of an Egleston hospital.

The legal complaint alleged that Mead Johnson & Company was aware of the potential health hazards infant cow milk products can cause in preterm infants. Despite that, the company didn’t divulge any details. As a result, infants developed NEC (Necrotizing Enterocolitis), which causes severe inflammation in the intestines and the gut.

The manufacturing brand was sued on six grounds, namely wrongful death, defective design, punitive damages, failure to warn, negligence, pain and suffering, and pre-death injury. The action indicated damages that had surpassed $75,000.

The legal complaint claimed that action was taken owing to the preventable and wrongful death of an infant. Today, several anguished mothers have witnessed their infants suffering and dying due to NEC caused by cow milk-based products. In this article, we will talk about the potential dangers of NEC and how affected families can file a lawsuit if their infant has suffered from it.

Understanding NEC and Its Link with Baby Formula

In November 2022, Atlanta Injury Law News stated that NEC occurs when the tissues present in a baby’s large intestine are inflamed and start dying. It creates a dent in the baby’s intestine. This condition can cause bacteria to move from the baby’s intestine and travel to other parts of the body.

When it doesn’t get treated, it can lead to peritonitis and sepsis. In certain cases, a few babies may require surgery to eliminate the decayed parts of their intestines. Unfortunately, in extreme cases, children affected by NEC might have to endure its effects throughout their lives.

While the link between NEC and infant baby formula remains the subject of debates and discussions, studies have shown that certain baby formulas have a toxic impact on intestinal cells. Babies who are fed with infant formula have been found to have ten times the risk of developing NEC.

Not many parents know about the risks associated with NEC. Most hospital literature regarding formula states that preemie formula can benefit an infant like human milk. As a result, parents don’t doubt it. And that is the starting point of all the NEC infections and struggles that come with it.

Identifying the Symptoms of NEC

Usually, newborn babies affected with NEC will fall sick whilst they stay at the hospital. Parents should be able to identify the signs so that they can opt-in for the correct medical care.

The symptoms to keep an eye on include:

  • Blood in stools
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Green color vomit
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Interrupted breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Issues with regulating temperature

At times, an infant exhibiting all these health-related ailments might not have NEC. Once the symptoms show up, the baby needs to get tested instantly. Doctors will carry out an X-ray of the baby’s abdomen that can help to check for bowel perforation. In case an infant has NEC, all oral feedings stop for the preemie baby for a while. All the antibiotics and nutrition are given through an IV.

Getting the Legal Help to File a Lawsuit

In July 2023, a report in Drugwatch shared that significant legal development took place concerning NEC claims in August 2022. The Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation had consolidated almost 97 lawsuits related to NEC in Illinois, MDL 3026 under the management of Rebecca Pallmeyer, U.S. District Judge. As of now, the litigation is in its early stages, and no settlements or jury verdicts have been approved yet. As of April 2023, approximately 157 cases were still pending in MDL.

If your baby has been showing signs of ailments after being fed with baby formula and if the doctor has confirmed that is NEC, you are eligible to file an NEC lawsuit. Usually, for any product liability cases, the statute of limitation is two years. That means mothers can file a legal complaint within two years after the ailment detection.

TorHoerman Law states that the legal ‘statute of limitation’ also gets decided based on the state a family decides to file their legal case in. The settlement amount might vary between $5,000 to $5000,000. This doesn’t guarantee the exact settlement amount and it is subject to change based on the individual case and degree of suffering. Families must keep the necessary medical evidence so that their baby formula lawyer can present a strong case and get them the compensation that they deserve.


The unfortunate accounts of tormented mothers and their infants suffering from NEC due to baby formula exposed the potential dangers linked with certain products. While the connection between NEC and infant formula may still be a subject of debate, studies have shown that there are significant risks involved.

As parents, knowing the symptoms of NEC is imperative. Understanding the risks can help parents make informed decisions about their baby’s nutrition and well-being. For those who have already experienced the devastating effects of NEC on their precious infants, taking legal action is the path to seek justice and hold manufacturers accountable for their product’s safety.




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