February 4, 2022

A federal lawsuit filed on January 5, 2022 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Chicago Division alleges: “This action arises out of the catastrophic and preventable death of a newborn baby who died due to a horrific and deadly disease caused and/or substantially contributed to by cow’s-milk-based infant formula and/or fortifier. Necrotizing Enterocolitis (hereinafter “NEC”) is a deadly intestinal disease characterized by inflammation and injury of the gut wall barrier that may advance to necrosis and perforation of the gut. Advanced cases of NEC may lead to surgery and to death. Significantly higher rates of NEC have been found in premature or preterm babies with low birth weights who are fed cow’s milk-based formula or fortifier products.”

“The companies who manufacture these products often intentionally mislabel and misrepresent the contents of the products both to the public at-large and to the health care community, passing off these deadly products as something similar to or even superior to human breast milk. Tragically, baby Eli Grey Hall (hereinafter “Baby Eli”), who was premature at birth, was fed these cow’s milk-based products, developed NEC, and died shortly thereafter.”

“Baby Eli was born prematurely at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem, North Carolina on November 27, 2019. He died on January 7, 2020 after developing NEC. Baby Eli developed NEC after being fed Similac Milk-Based Products while in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (“NICU”) at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem, North Carolina.”

“Nutrition for preterm babies [defined as born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed], especially those who have a very low birth weight (under 1500 grams) or extremely low birth weight (under 1000 grams) like Baby Eli, is significantly important. Since the United States ranks in the top ten countries in the world with the greatest number of preterm births, the market of infant formula and fortifiers is particularly vibrant.”

“Science and research have advanced in recent years confirming strong links between cow’s milk-based products and NEC causing and/or substantially contributing to death in preterm and severely preterm, low-weight infants, along with many other health complications and long-term risks to these babies. Additionally, advances in science have created alternative fortifiers that are derived from human milk and non-cow’s milk-based products, however, the manufacturers of the Cow’s Milk-Based Products continue to promote and sell the Cow’s Milk-Based Product versions.”

“As far back as 1990, a prospective, multicenter study on 926 preterm infants found that NEC was six to ten times more common in exclusively formula-fed babies than in those fed breast milk alone and three times more common than in those who received formula plus breast milk. The study also found that NEC was rare in babies born at more than 30 weeks gestation whose diet included breast milk, but was 20 times more common in those fed cow’s milk-based formula only.”

“Recognizing a shift in the medical community towards an exclusive human based diet for preterm infants, the Defendants began heavily promoting “human milk fortifiers,” a name which misleadingly suggests that the product is derived from human milk, instead of being derived from Cow’s Milk.”

“Thus, despite the existence of alternative and safe human milk-based fortifiers, the Defendant continues to market and/or sell the Cow’s Milk-Based Products under the guise of being a safe product for newborns and despite knowing the significant health risk posed by ingesting these products, especially to preterm, low weight infants like Baby Eli.”

“Despite the knowledge of the significant health risks posed to preterm infants ingesting the Cow’s Milk-Based Products, including the significant risk of NEC and death, Defendant did not warn parents or medical providers of the risk of NEC in preterm infants, nor did Defendant provide any instructions or guidance on how to properly use its Cow’s Milk-Based Products so as to lower the risk or avoid NEC or death.”


If your baby developed NEC after being fed cow milk based formula in a hospital or NICU that occurred in the United States, you should promptly find a NEC lawyer (medical malpractice lawyer) who may investigate your NEC claim for you and represent you and your baby in a NEC baby formula case, if appropriate.

Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with NEC attorneys in your area who may assist you.

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