Charlotte woman files lawsuit against Abbott alleging formula contributed to baby’s death

·3 min read

A Charlotte woman has filed a lawsuit against the nation’s leading baby formula maker.

Brianna Anthony is suing Abbott Labs, the makers of Similac.

In the lawsuit, Anthony alleges that Similac is dangerous to babies born prematurely. The suit also alleges Similac contributed to the death of her daughter Reign, who died at 3 months old.

“Defendants’ products caused the injured infant to develop Necrotizing Enterocolitis (hereinafter “NEC”), a life-threatening and potentially deadly intestinal disease,” the filing reads.

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The lawsuit goes on to say that higher rates of NEC have been found in babies born prematurely and those with low birth weights who are fed formula products like Similac and other cow’s milk-based products.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, NET is the death of intestinal tissue -- it occurs when the lining of the intestinal wall dies and the tissue falls off.

Abbott sent the following statement to Channel 9 in response to Anthony’s lawsuit:

“We are sorry to hear this and our hearts go out to this family,” Abbott said in a statement. “Abbott has spent decades researching, developing, testing and producing formulas and fortifiers for premature infants, and countless infants have benefitted tremendously from these products. These allegations are without merit, advancing a theory promoted by plaintiffs’ lawyers rather than the medical community, which considers these products part of the standard of care for premature infants.”

‘She had survived for such a long time’

Reporter Gina Esposito talked with Roy Willey, a partner at the Anastopoulo Law Firm. Willey is representing Anthony in the case.

“They had really gotten to the point of hope that Reign was going to make it,” Willey said. “She had survived for such a long time. She had been going in the right direction.”

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They blame the company’s formula for her short life.

“This product should not be used for preterm infants, yet it is,” Willey said.

Doctors wanted Reign to gain weight faster since she was born at just over a pound, so they put her on a human milk fortifier to supplement Anthony’s breastmilk, the complaint reads.

“The ‘standard care’ is to give the cow’s milk-based product, despite the fact that Brianna pleaded with her doctors not to do it because she had did the research and studies,” he said. “They did it anyway without her consent.”

Willey says while Reign was on the formula, she developed NEC.

“This is the reason that Reign died. It’s because of this formula that is cow’s milk-based, causing the NEC,” he said. “And aside from that, you know, she may very well have lived.”

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“...The products should have had stronger and clearer warnings or should not have been sold in the market,” the lawsuit reads.

“This is a problem that has been going on for a number of years -- and it’s really now coming to the fore,” Willey said.

Willey said hundreds of other families have come forward with similar complaints regarding Abbott’s human milk fortifier for preterm infants. For Anthony, he says she wants to see the product pulled from the shelves.

“Her main concern is that this doesn’t happen to anyone else, and that these companies be held accountable,” he said.

Willey said the cases across the country involving NEC and Abbott have been consolidated. He said they’ll be brought to court sometime in the next week or so.

(WATCH BELOW: Charlotte woman starts Twitter to help families find baby formula)