Audrey was born 12 weeks premature at a hospital with a level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
She later developed the symptoms of a gastrointestinal (GI) infection. Based upon her worsening condition, the doctor suspected a possibility of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
NEC is a devastating disease affecting the intestine, mostly in premature infants, with a 25 percent mortality rate. 1
The cost of NEC is $180,000 to $198,000/infant and nearly doubles to $313,000/infant for surgically treated NEC. In the first 3 years of life, NEC survivors also accrue substantially higher outpatient costs.
(1Advances in Nutrition, Volume 8, Issue 1, January 2017, Pages 80-91, https://doi.org/10.3945/an.116.013193)