We like to reassure ourselves that most devastating conditions that affect infants are rare. We look at the statistics and try to spin them in our favor, telling ourselves that something that only affects approximately 1 out of every 2,000 babies is not very common. We insist to ourselves again and again that bad luck happens, but that it is rare. But in reality, this is not the case.
Though the statistic that 1 out of 2,000 babies suffer from Necrotizing Enterocolitis is true, the number of infants stricken by this disease is high in sheer numbers. Because approximately 4 million babies are born every year, even an incidence rate that seems low indicates 2,000 babies a year suffer this disease.
Necrotizing Enterocolitis occurs when the wall of the intestine suffers a serious bacterial infection, leading to breakdown of tissue and ultimately to perforation or other serious damage. This disease, most common in preterm infants fed formula, is likely to result in death or significant disability if left untreated for very long. Medical literature supports that preterm infants should be carefully monitored for symptoms so the condition can be caught early.
If caught quickly, the disease can usually be treated by forgoing formula feedings and treating the infant with antibiotics. In those instances, the long-term prognosis is good. However, when the disease is not caught quickly, surgery is usually required, and even surgery does not address the significant and lasting damage to the intestine.
If you or someone you love has suffered due to a missed diagnosis of Necrotizing Enterocolitis, it is important to determine whether or not you were properly educated on the risks and signs, and whether or not medical professionals properly evaluated the infant. Please consider reaching out to an experienced attorney about your case.