Hyperbilirubinemia and Kernicterus
Knowledgeable Birth Injury Lawyers Handling Cases in the Boston Area
If you are expecting a child, the chances are that you have many concerns about whether the birth process will go smoothly and whether your child will be delivered safely. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston birth injury attorneys have assisted many families with asserting their legal rights following a tragic and avoidable birth injury that happened as a result of a medical professional’s carelessness. Some of the claims that we have handled have involved the complex condition of kernicterus, which can arise from hyperbilirubinemia in a baby and cause severe brain damage. These conditions can be treated if they are identified and addressed in a timely manner, but if left untreated, the consequences can be serious and even life-changing for the baby. If you believe that your baby suffered harm as a result of medical negligence, contact us today because time may be running out on your claim.
Understanding Hyperbilirubinemia and Kernicterus
Bilirubin is a substance found in the bloodstream that is yellow. For a baby, the liver takes some time to start functioning fully after birth. In some cases, bilirubin can build up in the baby’s blood system, which causes the baby’s eyes and skin to take on a yellow hue. This is known as jaundice, and it is a common medical condition that babies can experience after birth. Although it is not necessarily concerning, if a medical professional fails to treat jaundice appropriately, it can progress to a more serious condition called hyperbilirubinemia. If it is still untreated, this can lead to kernicterus, which is a condition that can cause permanent brain damage. It can also lead to athetoid cerebral palsy and hearing loss, in addition to issues associated with vision and intellectual disabilities. Fortunately, these outcomes can be avoided with the early detection and treatment of the jaundice.
Some symptoms that indicate that hyperbilirubinemia or kernicterus may be occurring include yellowing of the baby’s skin, poor feeding, lethargic behavior, and yellowing of the whites of the baby’s eyes. This condition can arise within just a few short hours or a few days after the baby is born. There are many different treatments that can address the condition and resolve it before it leads to permanent brain damage. If medical professionals do not act, however, a medical malpractice claim may be appropriate.
Bringing a Medical Malpractice Claim Against a Careless Doctor Based on Kernicterus
Understanding the elements that you must prove in a medical malpractice claim can help you determine whether pursuing legal action is right for you. As seasoned medical malpractice lawyers, we have counseled many families regarding medical malpractice law in Massachusetts and helped them investigate whether they have a viable claim. In general, medical professionals are required to treat each patient according to the generally accepted practices and procedures that other medical professionals with similar training and specialties would use when facing a similar situation. There are many well-known protocols designed to diagnose jaundice and hyperbilirubinemia before it develops into kernicterus and causes brain damage to a baby. If a medical professional fails to examine an infant for jaundice, fails to perform a bilirubin test, or fails to treat a newborn who is showing signs of hyperbilirubinemia, he or she may have been negligent.
After proving that the defendant failed to act according to the standard of care, your attorney must prove that this failure was the cause of the injuries that you sustained. Our attorneys will retain medical experts to review the claim and to explain to the jury how the defendant’s conduct caused the baby’s injuries. Since conditions like kernicterus often cause long-lasting harm, determining the amount of compensation that the plaintiff is entitled to receive may be a complex process. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you ensure that you seek the full amount of compensation that your infant deserves.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Compassionate Boston Attorney
Realizing that your baby has suffered serious pain and harm as a result of a medical professional’s carelessness is a devastating experience. While your family copes during this difficult time, we can ensure that your legal rights are asserted to the fullest extent possible. Having served clients in Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, Lowell, Newton, Somerville, Quincy, Dedham, Norwood, Brookline, Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Plymouth, Worcester, Lawrence, and Springfield, our lawyers have substantial experience handling a wide variety of birth injury claims. Contact us now at 1-800-379-1244 or online to get started.