Simply Thick Blamed for Death of Weeks-Old Baby
(CN) - A North Carolina father says in court that the baby food additive Simply Thick infected his infant son with ultimately fatal necrotizing enterocolitis.
Jack Mahoney, the first-born of premature fraternal twins, was prescribed SimplyThick in February 2001, but his twin sister was not, according to the complaint in Wake County, N.C.
Dana Mahoney says he and his wife, Jody, mixed the additive with formula, as directed, both in the hospital and at home after the baby was discharged.
"As a result of his ingestion of SimplyThick, Jack Mahoney developed frequent bowel movements, but appeared otherwise to be advancing and growing in a healthy manner," according to the complaint.
During the early morning hours of April 8, 2011, however, Jack Mahoney became "increasingly ill and inconsolable due to tremendous pain and a distended abdomen, and as soon as their pediatrician's office was open, Dana and Jody Mahoney took their son there," the complaint states.
The pediatrician sent Jack Mahoney immediately to the hospital, but the baby never recovered. Jack Mahoney died two days later from extensive damage and destruction of his intestines. He was just 66 days old.
Simply Thick is a food addictive that thickens liquids and makes them easier for a baby to swallow, according to the complaint against manufacturers Simply Thick fka Phagia-Gel Technologies, Thermo Pac and Wincare Inc.
The additive has allegedly four primary ingredients, including xanthium gum, and is typically marketed through hospitals and other healthcare providers.
Before distributing the additive, Simply Thick realized or should have realized that users of its product could develop adverse side effects such as severe gastric distress and death, especially in premature infants, according to the complaint.
"Thermo Pac's plant in Stone Mountain, Georgia, formulated and manufactured certain lots of SimplyThick which were distributed in packet form and which, due to Thermo Pac's inadequate, unsafe and defective manufacturing processes, resulted in contamination with harmful bacteria," Mahoney said.
A portion of this contaminated SimplyThick eventually reached WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, N.C.
"The FDA and others later confirmed the presence of harmful bacteria in the contaminated SimplyThick from Thermo Pac's Stone Mountain facility, according to the complaint.
Mahoney says that, "as a result of the contamination, the FDA ordered and directed the shut down of Thermo Pac's Stone Mountain plant and the recall of the remaining packets from the Contaminated SimplyThick, and the FDA issued safety warning concerning SimplyThick."
"In addition, SimplyThick, with its high concentration of xanthium gum, is by nature highly dangerous to the immature intestinal tract of infants, especially premature infants, and can result in infants developing necrotizing enterocolitis, a potential fatal medical condition, and other gastric injuries," he adds.
Consumption of SimplyThick was the "direct and proximate cause of Jack Mahoney's severe and painful gastric injuries and eventual death," according to the complaint.
Mahoney seeks damages for negligence and breach of implied warranty. He is represented by Jerome Trehy Jr. of Twiggs, Strickland & Rabenau in Raleigh.