Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a critical condition that primarily affects premature and low-birth-weight newborns. This life-threatening condition can have long-lasting consequences, and often, it can be attributed to hospitals administering cow’s milk-based formula. If you’ve lost a child to NEC or your child continues to suffer from its effects, you can file an NEC case to seek justice. In this article, we’ll delve into everything about NEC, the legal actions you can take, and the role of experienced product liability lawyers in your fight for justice and financial relief.

Understanding Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a severe gastrointestinal disorder that primarily affects premature infants and those born with low birth weight. The condition causes inflammation and, in some cases, the formation of holes in the infant’s intestine, leading to the leakage of bacteria into the abdomen or bloodstream. If you can’t diagnose or treat it promptly, it can result in life-threatening complications and severe medical issues.

Potential Causes of NEC

The exact cause of NEC in newborns is unclear. However, some experts suggest that oxygen deprivation during birth may play a significant role. Reduced oxygen flow to the intestine weakens it, making it vulnerable to bacterial damage, scarring, or narrowing. Other contributing factors may include underdeveloped intestines, intestinal lining injuries, excessive intestine bacterial growth, and intestinal infections. Notably, research has shown that feeding premature infants cow’s milk-based formula significantly increases their risk of developing NEC, making it a matter of concern.

Common NEC Symptoms

Symptoms of NEC can vary among infants, often resembling those of other digestive conditions, making diagnosis challenging. Common symptoms include abdominal discoloration, bloating, swelling, blood in stool, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, breathing difficulties, blood pressure issues, reluctance to eat, failure to gain weight, and heart rate irregularities. Prompt medical attention is crucial to prevent NEC from becoming life-threatening.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing NEC typically involves a physical examination, blood tests, fecal tests, and X-rays to check for infection, blood in the stool, and signs of NEC. If detected early, NEC can often be treated without surgery by discontinuing feedings, administering antibiotics and intravenous fluids, and monitoring healing through X-rays. For severe cases, you may need surgery to remove the damaged intestine or connect it to an opening in the abdomen. A surgeon might also drain the peritoneal cavity.

Medical Malpractice and NEC

Medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care, meaning they must provide acceptable medical treatment under similar circumstances. Failure to meet this duty can establish negligence and lead to medical malpractice claims. If a practitioner fails to diagnose or treat NEC, resulting in significant harm or death, parents can pursue an NEC case under a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Lawsuits Against Formula Manufacturers

Formula manufacturers, such as Abbott Laboratories (Similac) and Mead Johnson Nutrition (Enfamil), are facing NEC-related lawsuits. Parents of premature babies who suffered injuries or death after consuming cow’s milk-based formula products are suing for medical expenses and other damages. They argue that these manufacturers should have provided proper warnings about the risks, as research has shown a high NEC risk associated with such products.

Legal Options and Statute of Limitation

If you believe your child has been affected by NEC due to cow’s milk-based formula, consult an experienced NEC lawyer without delay. They can assess your case, verify whether your claim is valid, and guide you through the legal options available. Keep in mind that each state has its statute of limitations for NEC cases, so acting promptly is crucial to ensure your rights are protected.


Necrotizing enterocolitis is a devastating condition that primarily affects vulnerable newborns. While it can lead to lifelong consequences or even death, you can seek justice and compensation under the law. The responsibility often falls on medical professionals to provide adequate care and formula manufacturers to ensure the safety of their products. If you find yourself in this challenging situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced NEC lawyer to explore your legal options and seek the justice your child deserves.