While necrotizing enterocolitis is very rare in and of itself, affecting only 1 out of 10,000 infants born on time, it is highly prevalent in babies who are born prematurely, namely before 36 weeks of gestation. Nearly 70% of necrotizing enterocolitis cases occur in premature infants, and the condition is responsible for approximately 8% of newborn intensive care unit admissions.
Necrotizing enterocolitis is extremely dangerous, and it can even be fatal, as it has a mortality rate of over 16%. This condition rapidly leads to the death of intestinal tissue in babies that can subsequently cause a hole in their abdomen through which bacteria can leak and give way to serious abdominal infections and, eventually, to death.
According to the March of Dimes, every year, more than 380,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S. Over 11% of pregnancies end in early deliveries. It is very important to know that a major risk factor for developing necrotizing enterocolitis is the baby being fed formulas based on cow milk while in the newborn intensive care unit instead of breast milk from their mother.
The primary reason why formulas based on cow milk can lead to the occurrence of necrotizing enterocolitis is that they lack the essential probiotics, which are live microorganisms found in the gut, that are necessary for the proper growth of the premature baby. On the other hand, breast milk can provide the infant with all the probiotics and nutrients required for their normal development. These are some of the most popular baby formulas that have a strong connection with necrotizing enterocolitis:
Roughly 80% of baby formulas have cow milk as the main ingredient, and nearly every major brand and store equivalent provides formulas based on bovine milk. If you deliver a baby prematurely, they are at risk of being fed a type of formula based on cow milk while they spend time in the newborn intensive care unit to help the infant gain weight. The most common symptoms of necrotizing enterocolitis include abdominal swelling, diarrhea, vomiting, and changes in vital signs.
Necrotizing enterocolitis has been acknowledged for over 50 years, but it remains the most prevalent life-threatening surgical emergency in newborns. The condition typically occurs within 2 to 6 weeks following birth. Although feeding a premature baby milk from the breast can also cause necrotizing enterocolitis, these cases are extremely rare. Some of the risk factors for this condition are being born before the 37th week of pregnancy, being fed through a tube in the stomach, and weighing less than 5 pounds and a half at birth.
It is essential to note that in 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics clearly stated that infants born prematurely must be fed human breast milk exclusively so as to avoid the risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis. Approximately 20% of babies with necrotizing enterocolitis die because of this awful condition. Tragically, most babies who survive necrotizing enterocolitis will have to struggle with serious health problems during their life, such as:
"The most current evidence suggests that a diet with entirely human milk and enriched feeds manufactured from donated human milk will meet the nutritional needs of the baby without the potential negative health effects that can come with a cow milk fortifier," advises Doctor Alan Lucas, a professor at University College in London.
Therefore, the parents of children who were born prematurely and were fed a type of formula based on cow milk, which led to the development of necrotizing enterocolitis, have the right to file a claim on behalf of their child. If you find yourself in this situation, do not hesitate to reach out to our team of experts, as we may be able to offer you the assistance you need to obtain compensation for the unjust fate of your child.
If your child was affected by necrotizing enterocolitis, wanting to obtain justice on their behalf is completely understandable, and you can achieve this by filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim. However, to file a claim, your baby must meet the following criteria:
If you wonder who will be held liable after you file a personal injury or wrongful death claim, the responsible party will be either the manufacturer of the formula or the medical professionals who fed your baby formula based on cow milk. You may be able to recover financial compensation for both, depending on the particularities of your case.
There is no recall date or set date. Consequently, when the discovery rule applies, your case will be reviewed individually to determine when exactly you made the connection between your baby having been fed formula based on cow milk and their necrotizing enterocolitis.
Nevertheless, it is important to be aware that some states recognize a different type of discovery rule or no discovery rule at all, in which case the situation will require another analysis approach. Lastly, because these cases regard minors, numerous states deem the statute of limitations valid until after the 18th birthday of the child.
If your premature baby had the misfortune of developing necrotizing enterocolitis as a consequence of being fed formula based on cow milk, you are most likely entitled to file a claim on behalf of your child to recover compensation. The first step you have to take in this respect is to give our team of professionals a call and thoroughly explain your situation.
Afterward, when we have all the information and documents we need, our team will carefully assess your case to determine whether you qualify for filing a claim on behalf of your child. If you do, we will quickly put you in touch with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury so that you can proceed with the legal process.
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