Experienced Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Attorney

Attorney Patrick J. Filan Helps Parents of Newborns

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) occurs in the bowel of premature infants. It is a medical condition where tissues within the infant’s bowel undergo necrosis, or tissue death. It most often happens in the days or weeks after birth. With prompt recognition and treatment, premature babies that have necrotizing enterocolitis can go on to lead healthy lives. If the condition is not recognized, however, and progresses, NEC can cause severe, life-altering damage to the intestine and can even be fatal.

If you believe your baby developed NEC while in the hospital and suffered preventable injuries, call The Law Offices of Patrick J. Filan P.C. today to discuss your legal options. Your child may have been the victim of medical negligence. Attorney Patrick J. Filan has recovered millions of dollars for New York and Connecticut clients, including those whose babies have suffered from NEC.

What Causes Necrotizing Enterocolitis? 

Researchers are still pinpointing the precise cause of necrotizing enterocolitis. It most often manifests in premature infants. Some suspect the infant’s intestinal tract and ability to produce protective mucus correlates to a decrease in the blood flow to the bowel or intestine. Too little blood flow or oxygen weakens intestinal tissues which may cause infection when feedings are started and food moves into the intestinal tract. Bacteria from the food may cause damage to the weakened intestinal tissues. Feeding infants commercial infant formula has also been linked with NEC.

What Are the Symptoms of Necrotizing Enterocolitis?

Common signs of necrotizing enterocolitis in an infant may include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Belly distention (a belly that is larger and harder than normal)
  • Feeding difficulties and intolerance
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody or black stool
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Unusual lethargy
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Irregular body temperature

Generally, NEC occurs during the two weeks after birth. NEC may occur more frequently in formula fed infants. There have also been cases where multiple cases of NEC arise in a hospital nursery, leading to the supposition that NEC could be contagious.

Diagnosing and Treating NEC

When a baby is exhibiting signs of NEC immediate medical attention is critical. Abdominal x-rays can confirm the existence of NEC. Subsequent or “serial” x-rays are useful to track the course of NEC.

Once confirmed, treatment includes:

  • Stopping formula or breast milk feedings
  • Insertion of nasogastric tube to rest the stomach
  • Intravenous catheter for fluids and nutrition
  • Antibiotics for infection
  • Oxygen or ventilator support if baby has breathing problems
  • Monitoring of stools
  • Continued blood work and x-rays

NEC will sometimes require surgery if the bowel is severely damaged or if stool leaks into the abdomen. In the majority of cases, NEC can be treated and resolved. In cases requiring surgery, the child may continue to have some gastrointestinal problems.

How Medical Malpractice Can Worsen NEC

If NEC is not promptly diagnosed and treated, intestinal narrowing or a stricture of the intestine may result, as well as intestinal perforation, abdominal infection, and even death. Once it is suspected that a baby may be developing NEC, treatments must be started to minimize the amount of damage to the bowel or baby. Delays in diagnosis and treatment may result in life-altering damage and death.

Speak With an Experienced Attorney Who Has Won Substantial Compensation for Clients

Patrick Filan has handled cases involving necrotizing enterocolitis and can help you recover compensation for your child’s injuries.

People who have suffered the devastating consequences of medical malpractice turn to him because he has a track record of success. Mr. Filan will work hard to recover the funds you deserve for compensation and to provide for future medical care. You will pay no fee unless he recovers a verdict or settlement on your behalf. Contact The Law Offices of Patrick J. Filan P.C. online or by calling his office in White Plains at 203-349-8074 to schedule your free consultation.