Researchers still struggle to find the cause of Necrotizing Enterocolitis, a devastating disease that affects thousands of newborns each year. Though the illness often occurs in clusters, indicating an environmental cause, that cause is still unknown. And because so little is known about what causes the disease, doctors are often too slow to make a diagnosis.
Physicians do have one important diagnostic fact to consider: the disease manifests in relation to gestational age and is much more common in preterm infants than other children. The earlier the baby is born, the later the disease is likely to become symptomatic, offering a timeline for diagnosis. Knowing this, doctors can evaluate the symptoms through the lens of prematurity.
Prompt treatment is key, particularly if certain symptoms occur, including abdominal discoloration, intestinal perforation, peritonitis, and systemic hypotension. But as important as emergent treatment is, managing the disease to keep the symptoms from becoming severe is more important.
Now, researchers have indicated a natural method for decreasing the severity of the disease. Doctors at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver followed dozens of preterm and low birth weight babies and discovered that breast milk has a preventative impact on Necrotizing Enterocolitis. Supplemented with probiotics, breast milk was shown to decrease the incidence of the disease from 4 percent to less than one percent. If this could be adopted nationwide, using either the mother’s milk or donor milk, thousands of babies could be spared a debilitating illness.
If your child suffered due to failure to diagnose or treat Necrotizing Enterocolitis, you are well aware of how devastating the condition can be. Please, consult with an experienced attorney regarding your case, and hold the medical professionals accountable for their actions to help ensure that other babies do not suffer unnecessarily.