Maryland Hyperbilirubinemia & Kernicterus Lawyer
While most babies are born healthy, many develop problems with bilirubin. Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment that is created by the body when red blood cells are broken down. It passes through the liver and is excreted out of the body. Some babies have low levels of bilirubin, which is common and often resolves itself within a week.
When a baby has high levels of bilirubin, though, they can develop hyperbilirubinemia. When bilirubin builds up in the body, it can cause the eyes and skin to become discolored. This is a condition called jaundice. This buildup occurs in 60% of newborns and is often caused by infection, prematurity, or certain blood disorders. Jaundice occurs in 80% of newborns. Hyperbilirubinemia can also lead to a serious condition called kernicterus.
While these conditions are common, they need to be treated properly. If your baby suffered hyperbilirubinemia or kernicterus due to a doctor’s negligence, seek legal help from the Maryland birth injury lawyers at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman
What is Kernicterus?
High levels of bilirubin can be serious. The bilirubin can affect the tissues in the brain and lead to kernicterus, which can cause seizures and even brain damage.
Kernicterus can also cause cerebral palsy and hearing loss. In some cases, it can cause vision and teeth problems as well as intellectual disabilities.
Symptoms of kernicterus include:
- Lack of energy
- Uncontrollable crying
- Trouble feeding
- Limp or stiff muscles
- Muscle spasms
- Unusual eye movements
While kernicterus is rare, it is preventable. When jaundice is diagnosed and treated early, these actions can help prevent kernicterus.
Symptoms of Jaundice
A baby may have jaundice if the following symptoms are present:
- Yellow or orange skin color (starting from the head and spreading to the toes)
- Sleeping difficulties
- Not breastfeeding or sucking from a bottle well
- Extreme fussiness
- Few wet or dirty diapers (fewer than four thoroughly wet diapers in 24 hours and three stools per day)
When is a Doctor Liable?
While doctors cannot guard against every case of jaundice, they can look for symptoms and monitor and treat the baby appropriately. There are several situations in which healthcare providers may be considered legally liable if a baby suffers from untreated jaundice:
- The hospital was negligent for not having policies in place to check bilirubin levels.
- The doctor caused the jaundice by aggressively using forceps or a vacuum during labor and delivery.
- The doctor did not identify the symptoms of jaundice.
- The baby was diagnosed with jaundice but not treated.
Contact Us Today
Hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus are issues that can affect a newborn baby. These medical conditions can cause serious complications and even lifelong effects.
If a doctor contributed to your baby’s jaundice or failed to treat it, you may need to seek legal help. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman can help you fight your case. To schedule a free consultation with our office, call (410) 567-0800.