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Baby Formula Side Effects: What You Should Know

Baby Formula Side Effects: What You Should Know

March 1, 2022 | Personal Injury

Lactose intolerance is common. Many people have a more severe dairy allergy which, in many cases, could be fatal.

Premature babies have underdeveloped gastrointestinal tracts. So, they are particularly susceptible to digestive diseases, including necrotizing enterocolitis.

The intestines of NEC babies cannot properly hold waste.

So, bacteria could leak into the baby’s blood and cause a life-threatening infection. Immediate and aggressive treatment, often including emergency intestinal surgery, is usually the only effective NEC treatment.

Essentially, formula feeding puts two and two together.

Thus, it’s one of the leading NEC risk factors. Cow’s milk-based infant formulas from Similac and Enfamil are difficult to digest.

That’s especially true if the baby’s digestive system is under-developed. These formula manufacturers can add as well.

So, they knew about the greatly elevated risk. Yet they failed to adequately warn parents and caregivers about this risk.

Formula manufacturers ultimately care about their own profits. In contrast, a dedicated New York personal injury attorney only cares about getting injury victims the compensation they need and deserve.

This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Additional punitive damages are usually available in defective product claims as well.

The Link Between Baby Formula for Preemies and NEC

Breast-fed babies hardly ever develop serious digestive complications like NEC.

Breast milk contains chemicals which strengthen the digestive tract and decrease the risk of bacterial infections. Other breast milk chemicals reduce inflammation, especially among preterm infants.

For various reasons, breastfeeding is rare. Less than 25 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed up to age six months.

Breastfeeding a preterm infant in the NICU is especially difficult. Most NICU babies must stay in incubators where they are hooked up to various monitors and hoses. Additionally, preterm infants usually have underdeveloped sucking skills.

So, overall, about 75 percent of babies are at risk for NEC. The risk is even higher among NICU preemies. Several recent studies have confirmed this link. Some highlights include:

  • A 1990 study of almost 1,000 preterm infants found that these individuals had about a ten times greater chance of developing NEC.
  • These findings were confirmed in a 2015 study. According to these researchers, breastfeeding reduced the NEC risk by about 50 percent.

This research is independent research. Neither formula makers nor New York personal injury attorneys commissioned these studies.

Failure to Warn

Baby formula sales eclipse $4 billion a year in the United States alone. Executives hesitate to do anything that could compromise such a profitable business.

That includes warning consumers about serious potential side-effects. New York law contains two basic requirements for product warnings.

First, the warning must be conspicuous. Usually, the size and placement of the warning must be related to the statistical probability involved as well as the potential harm.

Tylenol and other mild, analgesic pain relievers could have some serious side-effects in some cases.

But the statistical likelihood is quite remote. So, it’s usually acceptable to discuss serious side-effects somewhere in an instructional pamphlet.

But Oxycontinin and other powerful opioids are different. These drugs have powerful side-effects that are quite common. So, manufacturers must prominently display such warnings on the box.

Second, the duty to warn is not just a one-time thing. It is an ongoing responsibility in New York and most other states.

This issue affects many dangerous drugs which have cancer and other side-effects.

Victims with this chronic illness usually do not show symptoms for several years or even several decades.

So, manufacturers cannot keep citing the same safety studies that were done at the time of the drug’s release.

Even though victims are often theoretically aware of the risk, the assumption of the risk defense does not apply in these cases.

Assumption of the risk, which often involves a warning or a liability waiver, is a negligence defense. Manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their defective products cause.

Usually, the unforeseeable misuse doctrine is the only effective defense in these cases.

Manufacturers aren’t liable for injuries caused by unforeseeable product misuse. Such misuse of baby formula might be using it instead of gasoline.

Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC.

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