Queens Kernicterus Attorney
Because No Baby Should Develop Brain Damage from Untreated Jaundice
Kernicterus is a rare but serious complication that is devastatingly easy to prevent. When doctors leave jaundice untreated in infants, bilirubin can accumulate and damage the brain or central nervous system. In the United States, checking for jaundice is standard in the first 48 hours of a baby’s life, and doctors usually check again before the baby turns 5 days old.
If medical professionals fail to check for, diagnose, or treat jaundice, an infant can sustain serious damage to the brain and spinal cord. Kernicterus, or bilirubin encephalopathy, can also lead to neonatal death.
This condition is unacceptable. If your child has been harmed or killed by kernicterus, the Law Office of David A. Kates can pursue justice on your behalf.
Call us at (718) 866-3664 to get started.
What Is Bilirubin?
Bilirubin is a brownish-yellow substance found in bile, which are the acids that help your body digest fats. Your body produces bilirubin when your liver breaks down old red blood cells, and your body removes it when you go to the bathroom. Before babies are born, their mothers’ livers remove bilirubin on their behalf, but after birth, the baby’s liver must remove bilirubin by itself.
Sometimes, the baby’s liver is not developed enough to perform this task, and bilirubin starts to build up. When babies have too much bilirubin in their body, their skin and the whites of their eyes begin to turn yellow. This is called jaundice.
Infant jaundice is very common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 60% of babies have jaundice. The term “jaundice” refers to the yellow coloring of the skin and eyes that appears when there is too much bilirubin in the bloodstream. As a condition, jaundice usually appears on the face, then moves down.
To treat jaundice in babies, doctors simply place the infant under special lights that help them break down and excrete bilirubin. Sometimes, they also recommend enhanced nutrition, and in certain cases, infants undergo intravenous immunoglobulin (a blood protein that helps reduce bilirubin) and/or a blood transfusion.
Visit MayoClinic.org to learn more about how infant jaundice is treated.
If your child develops kernicterus because a doctor fails to treat their jaundice, call our Queens kernicterus lawyer immediately.
Severe Jaundice and Kernicterus
If you are concerned your child has jaundice, you should take them to the doctor as soon as possible and ask for a jaundice bilirubin test. Doctors can check your child’s bilirubin levels with a light meter and/or blood samples. When your baby’s bilirubin levels are too high, they should be treated immediately. Light therapy will not harm your child and could be the first step in treating this condition. The sooner your doctor starts treating your baby for jaundice, the sooner they will discover any complications.
Waiting or failing to treat jaundice could lead to kernicterus and is nearly always an indicator of medical malpractice.
Early signs of kernicterus include:
- Poor feeding (your baby is not breastfeeding or sucking from a bottle well)
- Irritability or fussiness
- A high-pitched or inconsolable cry
- Lethargy (sleepiness)
- Brief pauses in breathing (apnea)
- A stiff, limp, or floppy body
- Strange eye movements
If you notice any of these symptoms, get emergency medical help.
If Your Child Develops Kernicterus, You Need a Lawyer – Choose Us
Early diagnosis and treatment of jaundice prevent kernicterus. If a doctor is monitoring your child’s health properly after birth, they will not develop this condition. The medical community is deeply familiar with jaundice, kernicterus, and the risk factors that make a child more likely to struggle with bilirubin-related disorders. If they miss a jaundice diagnosis or neglect treatment, there is simply no excuse.
We can help you, too.
All you need to do is call us at (718) 866-3664 today and request a free, no-obligation consultation.
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