Minnesota Hyperbilirubinemia & Kernicterus Lawyers
Jaundice is a very common condition experienced by newborn babies. It is also usually very easy to treat. However, there are times when jaundice becomes so severe, it can result in Kernicterus, which is a very serious brain injury. Jaundice is a result of too much bilirubin in the bloodstream. This bilirubin can spread to the brain, causing permanent damage. Newborn babies that have jaundice must be carefully monitored, and treatment is sometimes necessary to reduce the levels of bilirubin in the system. When a medical professional fails to notice signs of jaundice, or fails to treat the condition, they can be held liable for medical malpractice. It is important to work with a Minnesota hyperbilirubinemia & kernicterus lawyer who can help you claim the financial compensation you are entitled to.
What is Hyperbilirubinemia and Kernicterus?
The human body produces bilirubin as a result of the natural breakdown of red blood cells in the system. The liver is responsible for processing the bilirubin and eliminating it from the system. When an infant’s liver is unable to do this, the bilirubin will remain in the body. The first signs of jaundice in a newborn are a yellowing in the eyes and skin, and bilirubin is yellow in color.
As bilirubin collects in a baby’s system, it can rise to dangerous levels and result in a condition known as Hyperbilirubinemia. It is especially important at this point that babies receive treatment, which is usually phototherapy. Phototherapy can convert bilirubin into a non-toxic form that is easier for a baby’s liver to process and ultimately eliminate. When this action is not taken, Hyperbilirubinemia is left untreated and that can cause the very serious brain injury, Kernicterus.
Kernicterus is one of several medical conditions that is known as a never event. This is not because it never happens, but because medical professionals should never allow it to happen. Kernicterus is only caused by negligent medical personnel, and it is entirely preventable. Any time a newborn suffers from it, they are placed at great risk of suffering from motor function disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and issues with their vision and hearing.
Symptoms of Hyperbilirubinemia
Infants must be carefully monitored for jaundice immediately after birth, and in the days following. This is because infants are most likely to suffer from the condition in the first few days following birth. The yellowing of the skin which usually starts in the face and eyes can spread to other parts of the body, but this is not the only symptom of Hyperbilirubinemia. There are others as well, and they are as follows:
- Abnormal muscle tone, whether muscles are weak and floppy or stiff and jerky
- A cry that is abnormally high-pitched
- Feeding issues
- Difficulty waking up, or lethargy
Even after jaundice is initially treated, babies should be reevaluated between the first three and five days after birth. A routine exam will determine if an infant is suffering from Hyperbilirubinemia so they can be treated and Kernicterus can be prevented.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Birth Injury Lawyers in Minnesota
At Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman, LLC, our Minnesota birth injury lawyers know how hard it is to see your child suffer. It is why we approach these cases with not only experience and knowledge, but also care and compassion. If your child has been harmed due to a doctor’s negligence, call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.