Suit blames food thickener in infant death

Nov. 14, 2012 at 1:49 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A Florida lawsuit claims an infant born prematurely died after ingesting the hospital-recommended food SimplyThick a month before the product was recalled.

Jaden Santos, born prematurely at 27 weeks, died in April 2011 of necrotizing enterocolitis, which attacks intestinal tissue, after being given SimplyThick, a thickening agent to help premature babies with swallowing difficulties, at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Fla.

His parents were given packets of the product to use at home, a wrongful death suit in federal court against the product manufacturers and the hospital said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning advising parents and healthcare providers not to feed SimplyThick to premature infants, and the company voluntarily recalled the product soon after, the Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday.

Jaden's parents, who live in Seminole County, Fla., learned their take-home packets of the product were among those recalled, the lawsuit states.

Jaden's twin sister, who also spent her first months in Florida Hospital's neonatal unit, was not given the product and is doing well, said Joe Taraska, an attorney representing the parents.

"The saddest part about all of this is these were twins, and though they were premature they would have survived. It's a pretty clear case," Taraska said.

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