Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) occurs when intestinal tissue dies. A seemingly apparent cause of the illness is bacteria in the intestine. It primarily affects infants and can restrict their blood flow, damaging the bowel and its protective mucus supply. Infants, especially those born prematurely, are often at higher risk of being diagnosed with NEC.
If your son or daughter contracted necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), you could be entitled to financial compensation. A lawyer in your area can explain how you can hold the manufacturer of the baby formula responsible for the damage caused by your use of their product. They can also explain what necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is in more detail.
Who Is at Risk of Contracting NEC?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, NEC is most frequently diagnosed in newborns and infants. Patients can include:
- Infants born prematurely
- Infants who are formula-fed
- Infants involved in an NEC outbreak
- Infants who received blood transfusions
The intestines are the part of the infant’s digestive system that turns food into waste and removes or expels it. When introduced into the intestine, bacteria can prevent it from functioning correctly and lead to serious health complications.
How Is NEC Diagnosed in Infants?
Your pediatrician or another medical professional may diagnose NEC if your infant displays any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Bloody stool
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Difficulty eating
- Sluggishness or lethargy
- Unbalanced body temperature
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart rate or blood pressure issues
NEC is diagnosed via x-ray, stool tests, blood tests, and platelet count. Each case and its accompanying symptoms are unique. Your child’s medical team may perform exams and laboratory tests not included on this list.
How Is NEC Staged After Diagnosis?
Prompt diagnosis is an important part of treating an affected infant. Sadly, as many as 25% of NEC cases result in a fatality. To ensure proper treatment, doctors assign NEC cases a certain stage. According to National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) research, the stages of NEC include:
- Suspected or Stage One — The presence of mild NEC symptoms
- Definite or Stage Two — Worsening symptoms in addition to the absence of bowel sounds and little or no activity in the intestine
- Advanced or Stage Three — Sever symptoms and the inability to urinate, increased pain, low white blood cell count, and blood clots
Accurate staging is critical to ensure appropriate treatment. Your child’s healthcare provider will explain the stage at which your child is diagnosed and the treatment they can be expected to undergo.
How Is NEC Treated?
Johns Hopkins Medicine cites the following treatment protocols following a definitive diagnosis:
- Feedings by mouth are stopped
- An abdominal tube to relieve gas
- Temporary intravenous feedings
Doctors continually monitor the infant’s condition and progress via imaging exams and blood and blood gas testing. Severe cases may require surgical intervention to remove dead bowel tissues. Doctors repair the bowel and remove the accompanying inflammation, which requires months of recovery time.
What Can I Do if My Infant Contracted NEC?
You can pursue the manufacturer of the formula you used to feed your baby by establishing a connection between the product and diagnosis. A personal injury lawyer can help by:
- Requesting your medical records
- Consulting NEC specialists
- Consulting formula experts
- Commissioning tests of the product
These tasks can be difficult to accomplish on your own, especially if you are simultaneously caring for your child and family. Your lawyer can build your case for financial compensation, assess its monetary value, and negotiate a favorable settlement.
How Do I Know Which Infant Formula Is Affected?
In early 2022, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials issued a warning to the consumers of several brands of baby food. The warning recommended immediate disuse of specific powdered formula. Included in that recall were formulas manufactured by:
The recall provides date codes, container codes, and expiration dates for formulas produced in Sturgis, Michigan. The formula produced here was contaminated with Cronobacter bacteria, a naturally occurring germ. The contaminated formula could be in any part of the U.S. Some varieties of Enfamil powdered infant formula may also have been affected.
What Financial Compensation Is Available?
Lawsuits are currently being prepared against baby formula manufacturers. You could recover the costs of all current and future medical care your son or daughter requires. You could also be entitled to recover the costs of parental lost wages, pain and suffering, and wrongful death compensation, where applicable.
Your lawyer will explain the monetary value of your case and fight for the best possible financial recovery for your family.
Get Started With a Free Case Review and Learn More About What Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) Is
If your newborn or infant was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), our law firm will help you build a case for compensation. We will handle all the hard work and details of preparing, proving, and documenting your case. Find out how hard we go to bat for your family by calling our case review team at GED Lawyers today.