Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious illness that primarily affects babies that are premature, have a low birth weight, or are fed through a tube. NEC affects the intestines, causing the tissue to die and leading to serious complications like infections.
Also known as advanced NEC, Stage 3 necrotizing enterocolitis is the most severe form of this disease. If your child is experiencing symptoms of this condition, it is important to seek medical attention immediately to reduce the risk of life-threatening complications.
Symptoms of Stage 3 Necrotizing Enterocolitis
There are three stages of NEC. In stage 1 NEC, the condition is suspected but not formally diagnosed and the child experiences symptoms like bloody stools, lethargy, and abdominal bloating. During stage 2, the condition is diagnosed via specific biomarkers like platelet count and lactic acid levels, as well as pain and tenderness in the abdomen.
In stage 3 NEC, the child begins to suffer from even serious and life-threatening complications in addition to stage 1 and 2 symptoms. Below are some of the hallmark signs of advanced NEC:
- Low blood pressure
- Periods of not breathing
- Low white blood cell count
- Formation of blood clots
- Lack of urination
- Increased abdominal pain
- A build-up of fluid and gas in the abdomen
- Excess acid in the blood, also known as acidosis
- Redness and inflammation in the abdomen
Stage 3 Necrotizing Enterocolitis Treatment
Treatment for NEC involves resting the intestines, treating any infections or complications, and monitoring the infant to ensure that the condition does not get worse. For example, the doctor may administer fluids and nutrients via an IV; take blood samples to check for infections; and remove air and fluid from the abdomen via a tube.
Infants with stage 3 NEC often require an emergency surgery called a laparotomy. The goal of NEC surgery is to remove any dead or damaged parts of the intestines. The surgeon may also attempt to connect the two healthy ends of the intestine together or may create a stoma.
A stoma is an opening that is created to help waste leave an infant’s body. Waste is collected in a small bag that is outside of your baby’s body as he or she recovers from NEC. As your child heals and gets older, he or she can have additional surgery to re-connect his or her intestines and remove the stoma.
Potential Complications of Stage 3 Necrotizing Enterocolitis
There are several dangerous complications that an infant can develop as a result of NEC.
- Peritonitis: One of the most severe complications of NEC is peritonitis, which is an infection that affects the abdominal wall. As waste products leak from the intestine into the bloodstream or abdomen, this infection can develop. Peritonitis increases the risk of sepsis, which occurs when the body has an extreme infection-fighting response and begins to shut down organ systems.
- Short Gut Syndrome: As a result of NEC surgery, your child’s intestines may not be able to adequately absorb fluids and nutrients. As a result, he or she can suffer serious growth and developmental delays.
- Intestinal Strictures: As your child recovers from NEC surgery and the intestines begin to heal, scar tissue can cause the intestines to narrow. This is known as an intestinal stricture, which can make it difficult for waste to pass through the intestines. If your child develops a stricture, he or she will need corrective surgery to widen the passage.
What Is the Prognosis for Stage 3 Necrotizing Enterocolitis?
NEC is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening illness. Sadly, as many as 50% of infants die as a result of this condition. If the intestinal wall is perforated and the bloodstream becomes infected, mortality for NEC can be close to 100%.
The prognosis for NEC depends on the severity of the disease. Because stage 3 NEC is the most advanced phase, the risk for complications and death is higher for a child at stage 3 than it would be for a child with stage 1 or stage 2.
Filing a Baby Formula Lawsuit for Necrotizing Enterocolitis
The trauma of witnessing a child suffer from NEC, or losing a child due to complications, can be extremely devastating for a family. There are many factors that could lead to NEC, but some children have developed this condition due to cow’s milk-based baby formula from Enfamil and Similac.
If your child was diagnosed with NEC after taking this formula, your family deserves justice for the harm that he or she suffered. Families are now filing lawsuits against Enfamil and Similac’s manufacturers to hold them accountable for their dangerous, toxic formula. In the event that your family has experienced such trauma, you are entitled to initiate one of these claims.
By filing a baby formula lawsuit, you could hold the manufacturer liable for the physical, emotional, and financial impact of your child’s NEC diagnosis. These damages may include:
- Past and future medical care related to NEC and any resulting complications
- Lost wages that your family experienced while caring for your child
- Any disability accommodations and specialized care that your child requires
- Pain and suffering that your child experienced due to the disease
- Pain and suffering that your family experienced if you lost your child due to NEC complications
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses in the event of a death
To prove an NEC lawsuit, you will need to show that the formula was defective, your child was diagnosed with NEC, and the formula caused your child’s NEC. You may require scientific evidence and medical experts to prove your case, which can be provided by a baby formula lawsuit attorney.
Speak to a Necrotizing Enterocolitis Lawsuit Attorney
Despite the fact that no amount of compensation could ever change what happened, you deserve justice if baby formula caused your child’s NEC. A lawyer can assist you in holding the manufacturer accountable and recovering your child’s settlement if your family has experienced this traumatic event.
After your child receives the medical care that he or she needs, contact an attorney who is representing clients in NEC baby formula lawsuits. Your lawyer can assess your family’s situation and help you understand your next steps.