Newborn infants are very vulnerable, and they may suffer harm due to infections or other health issues. Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is one issue that can affect children who are born prematurely or who have a low birth weight. This intestinal illness can be incredibly harmful, and it may threaten an infant’s life or lead to life-long medical conditions. In some cases, it may be caused by an E. coli infection or the use of baby formula in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Symptoms of NEC
Necrotizing enterocolitis affects the lining of the small or large intestine, and it may cause intestinal tissue to die. In some cases, a hole may develop in the intestinal wall, causing foods and liquids to leak into the abdomen and leading to widespread infections or sepsis. Dead intestinal tissue may need to be removed, or a child may experience intestinal blockages or other issues that will affect their ability to digest food throughout the rest of their lifetime.
NEC most commonly affects premature infants who are born before the 28th week of pregnancy, although it may also affect children with birth defects who are born at full term. Symptoms will usually appear around two weeks after a child’s birth, and they may include abdominal swelling, inability to move food through the intestines, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, inability to eat, and lack of weight gain. A swollen abdomen may cause a child to experience difficulty breathing, and infections may lead to issues such as low heart rate, low blood pressure, and fevers.
Possible Causes of NEC
While the exact cause of necrotizing enterocolitis is unknown, it may occur because of infections that affect premature children with weakened immune systems. These infections or other issues that result in a lack of blood flow to the intestines may cause tissues to be damaged or killed. In some cases, NEC may be caused by exposure to infectious diseases, and this may occur because of failure to follow proper sanitary procedures in a NICU or other parts of a hospital.
NEC has also been linked to the use of baby formula to feed newborn infants. Breast milk is easier for infants to digest, and it also helps fight infections and encourages the development of intestinal tissues. Premature infants or other newborns who receive treatment in a NICU may receive formula instead of breast milk, and this may increase the chances of developing NEC.
Contact Our Illinois Baby Formula Injury Attorneys
If your child has been diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis, Newland & Newland, LLP can investigate your case and help determine whether the use of baby formula may have been a factor that led to this condition. We will work to ensure that you can receive compensation that will address your child’s injuries and the damages that your family has suffered. Contact our Illinois infant injury lawyers at [[phone]] and arrange a free consultation today.