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Florida man sues hospital after infant son's death

A Florida man claims that a food thickener given to his premature baby eventually led to the infant's death. Staff at Florida Hospital gave the child a product called SimplyThick during his time in a neonatal unit at the hospital, giving more SimplyThick to the child's parents when he was finally discharged. However, the child soon developed serious diarrhea and died before doctors could treat him.

The baby boy's father has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both Florida Hospital and SimplyThick, the latest of several recent claims in which parents argue that the food thickener led to the deaths of their children. He claims that he and his wife were not made aware that the product was potentially unsafe. About a month after the child's death, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that SimplyThick can cause a potential fatal intestinal condition known as necrotizing enterocolitis and issued warnings to hospitals not to administer the product to premature babies.

According to an autopsy performed on the infant after his death, he had developed intestinal inflammation caused by necrotizing enterocolitis. His parents say the packets of SimplyThick they were instructed to give to the child were included in a recall announced by the product's manufacturer shortly after the FDA announcement. They also explained that the deceased child's twin sister, who was also premature but not given SimplyThick, did not manifest any symptoms of necrotizing enterocolotis.

The plaintiff claims that SimplyThick knew about the issue with its food thickener but failed to take measures protecting premature infants from harm until after his child's death. According to the FDA, 22 infants developed nectrotizing enterocolitis from exposure to SimplyThick, seven of which later died. The plaintiff's attorney said that his client hopes to ensure that the processing of these food supplements are done in a way that doesn't harm other children.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Lawsuit claims food thickener caused infant death," Amy Pavuk, Nov, 13, 2012

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