NEC, otherwise known as Necrotizing enterocolitis is a health condition in which the intestines become infected and start to decompose. NEC usually only really affects infants or pre-mature babies, although there have been known cases of term babies developing the disease. It is a serious condition that sometimes requires surgery and has a high morbidity and mortality rate.
Attack of the Intestinal Wall
To start, the inner lining of the intestines contains millions of bacteria. Most of the time, these bacteria which are called normal flora, are harmless and a part of the digestive process. However, with NEC, the bacteria will begin to attack the intestinal wall. If left untreated, the intestinal wall will weaken and die. A hole can form through the bowel wall, which results in spilling of its contents into the abdominal cavity. When this happens, it is known as a bowel perforation and needs immediate surgery due to its high mortality rate.
Causes of NEC
Parents often wonder what causes NEC and can otherwise turn a newborn from healthy to infected so quickly. Unfortunately, premature babies are the most at risk at developing NEC due to their immature intestines. Aside from that, medical physicians aren’t exactly sure of the main cause for NEC. All they know is that the vast majority of infants who have been infected with NEC have been milk feeding. Medical professionals are aware that delaying feedings doesn’t reduce the frequency of the disease either.
Research and data have suggested that reduced blood flow to the intestines may also play a key role in the development of NEC. Babies who also have heart conditions like PDA, or patent ductus arteriosis have a higher risk for NEC too.
Signs of NEC
Be on the lookout for symptoms of NEC in newborns with some of these telltale signs:
- Tender stomach
- Blood in the stool
- Bile vomiting
- Signs of generalized illness and infection like low blood pressure
- Occasionally a baby may be acutely unwell and require extensive medical treatment
The early stages of NEC cause the movement of food and air through the intestines to slow down or stop completely. A baby’s stomach may tend to look bloated or distended. This is because after feedings, food is left in the baby’s stomach as gastric residual.
At this point, a build-up of air becomes trapped in the intestines that bowel loops are visible on the baby’s belly. Parents will notice the belly to become discolored and the baby may even begin vomiting. In other instances, blood may be present in the baby’s stools and sometimes the baby may be bloated and have less urine output. Eventually, the bowel will rupture and cause widespread infection and respiratory distress.
Treatment for NEC
The treatments for NEC include a stoppage of milk feedings, antibiotics to treat the infection, or in serious cases surgery to remove any dead sections of bowel or other infected material. Treatments continue until the disease is resolved.
Call Kwartler Manus
If your baby has been the victim of NEC due to milk feeding formulas you likely have a case on your hands. Get in touch today with one of our specialized attorneys at Kwartler Manus. From there, we evaluate your situation and provide guidance so you receive the compensation you deserve for your damages. NEC is a serious disease and infants that do recover from it are still at a greater risk of developing long-term problems. There are many times in which infants who have been treated for NEC have either growth delays, trouble absorbing nutrients, or issues with their liver and gall bladder. With NEC, the risk of developmental delays increases drastically.
An experienced Philadelphia NEC attorney will fight for justice and ensure you and your baby are represented accordingly in court should your case go to trial. Call us today at 267-214-8608 to discuss your claim.