Researchers and medical professionals estimate that about 50 to 60 percent of babies are born with jaundice. This is a common condition that is typically closely monitored by a medical team. Jaundice is usually the result of natural causes. When babies are born, they can no longer rely on their mother’s liver to filter bilirubin (yellow pigment) from their blood. Instead, they rely on their own, recently-formed livers.
If a baby’s liver is unable to filter bilirubin adequately, they will develop a yellow tint in their eyes and skin. Jaundice in newborns typically goes away on its own but requires monitoring to ensure that bilirubin concentration does not reach unsafe levels. If medical teams fail to monitor jaundice, bilirubin infiltrates brain tissue, stains it, and causes a condition known as kernicterus.
Kernicterus is brain damage caused by excessive bilirubin in the blood. It can cause movement disorders, hearing loss, and impaired eye movements. The most frustrating part about kernicterus is the fact that it's preventable; children should never develop it under the care of a modern hospital. If your baby developed kernicterus while under medical supervision, it’s time to start asking how it was allowed to happen.
Why Should Kernicterus Never Happen to Infants?
Kernicterus should not happen for one specific reason: doctors and nurses are trained to easily recognize symptoms of jaundice, and they should be prepared to monitor babies who exhibit these signs. If bilirubin concentrates to unsafe levels, doctors should take immediate steps to lower it. This is a basic protocol for doctors and nurses.
Anytime kernicterus occurs, the medical staff in charge of a baby’s delivery should be made to answer why they didn't follow protocol to prevent brain damage. No baby deserves to have their entire life changed because medical professionals didn't meet the standard of care.
My Newborn Has Kernicterus. What Do I Do?
If your newborn has kernicterus, contact Handler, Henning & Rosenberg’s birth injury attorneys as soon as possible. When families face an uncertain and challenging future, it is our duty to fight for their financial compensation. A birth injury lawyer may recover expenses such as medical bills, time lost at work, and the cost of your child's future care. Our firm has over 100 years of combined experience and has won tens of millions of dollars for our clients in that time. We're one of the oldest, most well-equipped law firms in Pennsylvania, allowing us to help parents provide for their injured babies. Speak with us about your case today.
Contact the birth injury attorneys at HHR today at (888) 498-3023 for a free consultation of your case.