What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious and often deadly condition that primarily affects infants. The disease occurs when the tissue in the intestines dies, and it can lead to a rupture of the intestine. NEC most often affects premature babies, but it can also occur in full-term infants.
In this article you'll learn about the causes of NEC, how to detect symptoms of the condition, and what treatment methods are currently available to treat this intestinal disease.
Causes necrotizing enterocolitis
Necrotizing enterocolitis is believed to be related to an imbalance in the levels of good and bad bacteria in the gut. This imbalance allows bad bacteria to flourish, damaging the intestines and causing inflammation. NEC can also be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, or by certain medications. In 2019, mass tort lawsuits against the manufactures of Similac and Enfamil allege that the companies knew or should have known that their products could cause a fatal brain condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). NEC is a leading cause of death in premature infants, and it typically occurs when formula is fed to babies who are born before 37 weeks gestation. The suit seeks to hold the companies accountable for failing to warn parents and doctors about the risks of NEC. It also seeks compensation for the families of infants who have died or been injured by the condition. The case is still pending, and it will be some time before a verdict is reached. In the meantime, parents who are concerned about the risk of NEC should discuss formula options with their doctor.
The symptoms of necrotizing enterocolitis
The symptoms of necrotizing enterocolitis can be divided into three main categories: gastrointestinal, feeding, and general. Gastrointestinal symptoms include vomiting, blood in stool, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating. Feeding symptoms include decreased appetite, poor weight gain, and difficulty feeding. General symptoms include lethargy, jaundice, and fever. General symptoms of NEC include changes in heart rage, vomiting, lethargy, and low heart rate.
Who’s at risk of developing NEC?
NEC is most commonly seen in premature infants, particularly those who are born before 32 weeks gestation. However, full-term infants can also be affected, particularly if they are born with a low birth weight.
How is NEC diagnosed?
NEC is most often diagnosed when an infant presents with abdominal pain, distention, vomiting, or bloody stools. A physical examination may reveal a tender or rigid abdomen, and laboratory tests may show elevated white blood cell counts. Imaging studies such as ultrasound or CT scan can also be helpful in diagnosis. In some cases, a tissue biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
How do doctors treat NEC?
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for the best possible outcome. Treatment for NEC typically includes antibiotics to clear the infection, as well as surgery to remove any necrotic (dead) tissue. In severe cases, patients may also require total parenteral nutrition (TPN) to provide them with the nutrients they need while their intestines heal. With prompt treatment, many patients with NEC recover completely and go on to lead healthy lives. NEC is a potentially fatal condition, and it is estimated that 1 in 10 babies who develop NEC will die from the disease.
What is the cost of medical treatment for necrotizing enterocolitis?
The average cost of NEC treatment is $50,000, but costs can range from $25,000 to $100,000 depending on the individual case. Necrotizing enterocolitis is a serious condition that can be costly to treat, but prompt medical intervention can often save the life of an affected infant. The cost of treating NEC depends on the severity of the condition and the length of time required for recovery. In some cases, treatment may only require a short hospital stay and medication. However, more severe cases may require surgery and a longer hospital stay.
What much is a NEC lawsuit worth?
As of April 23, 2022, the average compensation awarded lawsuits related to NEC in premature infants was around $3.5 million. Most of the lawsuits factors into the computation of this average sum are medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors for failing to diagnose and treat the condition in a timely manner. When a doctor's oversight resulting in a child developing NEC the child often suffers serious injuries or can even die. In 2022, thousands of parents have began filing claims against Similac and Enfamil due to these popular baby formulas causing premature infants to develop a serious gastrointestinal infection called necrotizing enterocolitis. Currently, the NEC baby formula lawsuits have not reached the stage of settlement or verdict.
At Sneed & Mitchell LLP, our personal injury attorneys litigate child injury claims on behalf of children suffer from necrotizing enterocolitis due to the negligence of medical professional or company. If your family is in need of legal assistance, contact our law firm today for a free and confidential case consultations, you can call 866-434-0014. We hope the information contained on this page was helpful!