There's nothing more important to new parents than the health of their child and most will do anything they can to keep their new baby safe. However, there are risks present everywhere, and sometimes even the most vigilant parent can be caught off guard by a sudden medical issue or emergency.

While no one wants to imagine something bad happening to their child in a hospital environment, there are examples of infant health issues that can occur there. One issue currently being litigated is related to necrotizing enterocolitis as caused by the formula given to premature infants by hospitals. Keep reading to learn more about the toxic baby formula lawsuit and whether or not you may be eligible to file on behalf of yourself and your child.

What do you need to know about toxic baby formula lawsuits?

There are several studies that indicate premature infants that are fed with bovine-based formula have an increased risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis. It isn't known why formula containing cow's milk is linked to a higher incidence of NEC than human milk, but many new parents and soon-to-be parents aren't aware of the risks associated with this type of formula. While you would hope hospitals might be aware of this research, many hospitals still provide infant formula that contains cow's milk to premature babies.

If your child was given bovine-based formula in the NICU or maternity ward or if you received complimentary bovine-based formula and subsequently developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), you may be eligible to file a toxic baby formula NEC lawsuit. Some common bovine-based formulas used in NICUs and hospitals include Enfamil, Similac, Earth's Best, Happy Baby, Go & Grow, Gerber, Parent's Choice, Baby's Only, Loulouka, Holle, Kendamil, Bobbie, and Lebenswert.

What is necrotizing enterocolitis?

Necrotizing enterocolitis, known as NEC, is a gastrointestinal disease that primarily affects the intestines of premature babies. It most commonly occurs within the first 2 weeks of life when the infant has been provided formula rather than breast milk. The condition is defined by bacteria intruding on the intestinal wall. The resulting inflammation can create a gap large enough for germs to seep into the abdomen. These germs can lead to serious infections and can even be fatal if left untreated.

Symptoms of NEC can vary, but a swollen or bloated belly is usually visually apparent. Feedings that don't move through the intestines are also a red flag. Bloody stool and green fluid in the stomach are also indicators of NEC. The disease can also present with difficulty breathing, low heart rate, and general sluggishness.

The exact cause of NEC remains unknown, as does the explanation for why cow's milk in formula seems to put preterm infants at much greater risk for developing the explanation. Fortunately, NEC remains exceedingly rare and affects only one infant out of every 2,000 to 4,000 births. However, until more research is available, it's always best to err on the side of caution when deciding how to care for your newborn baby.

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a terrifying disease that can cause serious illness and, in rare cases, death. Research has indicated that bovine-based formula can contribute to increasing an infant's risk of NEC, yet many hospitals still use these products to feed premature babies and gift them to new parents. If your child developed NEC after using an infant formula product at a hospital or gifted to you by a hospital, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to seek recompense. While no settlement or legal victory can make up for the harm caused to your child, it's important to use the tools available to you to hold those responsible accountable.