NEC Q&A with Noah

What caused you to decide to become a lawyer?

Unlike many, I did not grow up dreaming of being a lawyer. In fact, I grew up in a parsonage and routinely envisioned growing up to be a pastor or a social worker. All I knew then was that I wanted to grow up to help people. Looking back on it now, I had yet to grasp the degree to which lawyers can help people. That all changed when I became a social worker after I graduated college. In running a transitional housing program for individuals struggling with substance abuse, I came to realize that recovery and progress for so many had been damaged by legal impediments they had no ability to overcome without the assistance of a caring attorney. Then and there, it became clear to me that law school provided an opportunity for me to become that caring attorney who could better the lives of their clients and utilize their skills for the betterment of others.

Why did you choose GoldenbergLaw?

GoldenbergLaw cares. I felt it from my first interactions with the attorneys and staff, and I have felt it every day for the past eight years. Everyone at this firm comes to work each and every day to make the lives of our clients better and to make the world in which we all live better. It's evident in the way in which we interact with our clients. It's evident in the amount of work we put into investigating and litigating each and every case. And it's evident in our tireless efforts to promote accountability and justice. This is a place where everyone has value and everyone sees value in helping our fellow humans.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is that I get to handle cases that I'm truly passionate about. My time and my energy are spent on causes I truly believe in, and that makes it a joy to put in the work necessary. It truly is a blessing to do what I do and represent the people I represent.

Why are you so invested in the firm's infant formula NEC cases?

The infant formula NEC cases perfectly exemplify how blessed I am to be in this position and to have the opportunity to fight for families of premature infants injured by these dangerous products. My wife and I are the proud parents of seven-year-old twins, Deacon, and Tate. Our children had a very rough start to life, as they were born three months early at just 28 weeks gestational age. Deacon weighed only 2 pounds, 10 ounces at birth. Tate was less than half that size, at 1 pound, 3 ounces. Both were whisked away to the NICU immediately upon birth, leaving us with conflicting feelings of joy and terror. Rather than newborn snuggles, we wondered if we would ever even have the opportunity to hold our children. We anxiously awaited each update from their medical teams, as every word felt as if our entire world hung in the balance. 

For my wife, this resulted in massive feelings of guilt and struggles with issues of self-worth. She has shared her pain over the fact that our children were put at risk being born so early and that she missed out on so many special pregnancy milestones. That pain was then compounded by the reality that her body was also not physically ready to support and nurture our children such that she then missed newborn milestones as well. She felt massive pressure to jumpstart her milk supply and struggled through sleepless nights waking up to pump while our babies lay miles away in the NICU. And once those babies came home, she was forced to supplement her limited milk supply with formula and therefore felt even more pressure to continue pumping while simultaneously bottle-feeding them. If it had turned out that the formula we selected had harmed our children after she was unable to feed them with her own body, it would have destroyed her.

For me, I struggled to put on a brave face and maintain any semblance of outward positivity as internally I wrestled with the terrible knowledge that our children may never leave the NICU. I wanted to dive so deeply into each moment of hope and progress that I can still vividly remember the joy of giving my children their first taste of formula with the end of a q-tip as they laid in their isolettes. But I also found myself being sucked just as forcefully into each moment of despair and fear, as I remember just as poignantly that joy being ripped away and replaced with immense fear that coursed through my body when I first heard that Tate might have NEC.

Needless to say, we faced much uncertainty as we began our journey as parents. We came to know well the sleepless nights of preemie parents. The short-term fears. The long-term concerns. The daily managing of emotions. The willingness to do anything and everything to give your child just the chance to grow and develop. And we came to resolve that we simply had to trust the treatment providers and find comfort in the fact that our children were receiving everything possible to help them grow and survive.

That's what breaks my heart about these cases and motivates me to fight for the families involved. Preemies and their families have to trust that they are receiving the safest nutrition possible. But for so many families, that trust was betrayed. Rather than safe nutrition that supported growth and development, they received products that ravaged their bodies and left them with a catastrophic and potentially fatal diagnosis. Those preemies and their families deserved better.

Deacon and Tate are thankfully now seven years old and are happy, healthy children enjoying first grade and all the wonders of learning and growing. But I can still see in my mind those preemies fighting every second for months on end just to survive. Those memories motivate me in handling these cases. I am a preemie dad, and I am a lawyer. That combination makes me exceedingly passionate, and I consider myself so very blessed to seek justice for families and preemies already injured while also endeavoring to make sure future families don't suffer the same horrors.

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