What is a Neonatal E. Coli Infection?

Escherichi coli (E. coli) is a bacterium that lives in the intestines of humans and animals.  People get E. coli infections by coming into contact with animal or human feces that contains the bacteria.  Infants and newborns get E. coli infections in vitro or while passing through the birth canal during labor.  There are several strains of E. coli.  While many of them are harmless, some strains can cause bloody diarrhea, anemia or even kidney failure.  E. coli infections in newborns can lead to sepsis or meningitis, which can lead to brain damage or death.

E. coli infections usually occur after a person has consumed water or food that has been contaminated by feces.  The most common cause of E. coli infections in the United States is consuming undercooked or raw meat, which can be contaminated while it is being processed.  Therefore, it is extremely important to cook meat to 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any bacteria.  In addition, people can also get E. coli infections by drinking untreated water, or by swallowing water while swimming in lakes or pools contaminated by feces.  Finally, E. coli can be spread when a person doesn’t wash his or her hands after using the bathroom and touches surfaces such as doorknobs.

Symptoms of E. coli infections in adults include bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps or vomiting.  Children are more likely than adults to experience symptoms, which usually occur three to four days after being exposed to the bacteria.  While many people get better on their own within a week, some E. coli infections can cause issues with a person’s blood or kidney problems, which can result in pale skin, weakness, bruising or trouble urinating.

Health care professionals test for E. coli infections by taking a stool sample.  If an infection is present, the patient will generally be told to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration from diarrhea.  In the case of serious blood or kidney problems, a person may need to undergo a blood transfusion or dialysis, a medical procedure that filters waste from the blood when the kidneys aren’t working properly.

How Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC Can Help If Your Child Was Diagnosed with an E. Coli Infection

E. coli infections in infants can lead to sepsis, which is a dangerous blood infection, or meningitis, which can cause brain damage or even be fatal.  In some cases, medical professionals may fail to diagnose E. coli infections, or they may not provide adequate treatment for the infection.  If your child was diagnosed with an E. coli infection, Gallivan & Gallivan may be able to help.  If we are retained, we will investigate the cause of your child’s condition, including any medical records during pregnancy, labor and after-care.  If your child’s E. coli infection could have been prevented, we will recover compensation from those responsible.  Contact us to find out more. 

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