Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) is a potentially fatal disease that mostly afflicts premature infants. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but it is well established in the medical literature that the disease onset is weeks after delivery, and that breastmilk has a preventative effect. For some reason, formula feeding does not have a prophylactic effect on gut fauna.
Unfortunately, for many women breastfeeding is not an option, or if it is an option, the difficulties are such that it is not a viable option. Whether due to difficulties with latching, milk production setbacks, personal choice, or other circumstances, many women rely on formula to nourish their infant.
In most instances, this is not a major issue. But in cases where NEC is diagnosed, or where the risk factors are significant enough that NEC is likely, breastmilk banks can be a literal lifesaver. Many NICUs around the country have found women willing and able to donate, and proper supplementation has saved the lives of hundreds of infants.
Though this is very useful once a diagnosis has been made, parents who wish to be pro-active can have a very difficult time sourcing breastmilk. Though there are places in New York City to purchase it, it is prohibitively expensive for most families, and there is often limited availability. In less populated areas, parents of premature infants may find it impossible to obtain breastmilk.
When NEC does occur, prompt diagnosis and treatment is key to the long-term health prognosis of the child. If your child has suffered this devastating condition and you believe diagnosis or treatment was unnecessarily delayed, please reach out to an experienced attorney regarding your case and hold the medical establishment responsible for its failures to take the health of children seriously.