Is Kernicterus a Sign of Birth Injuries?
Kernicterus is a birth injury that results when a child doesn’t get the correct treatment for severe jaundice. It’s crucial for newborns to receive proper monitoring so this condition can be prevented.
There are effective treatments for kernicterus when it’s discovered in time. Sadly, babies that suffer from untreated kernicterus will require lifelong medical treatment and assisted living.
What Causes Kernicterus?
A lot of babies experience jaundice, a condition that causes yellowing in the skin and eyes. Jaundice is caused by a build-up of bilirubin, which is a chemical that’s formed by the red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body.
In most cases, the baby’s liver naturally removes excess bilirubin. But if the bilirubin level is allowed to get too high, it will spread to the infant’s brain tissue, causing kernicterus.
Symptoms of kernicterus include:
- Yellowing of skin and eyes
- High-pitched crying
- An arching back
- A limp body
- Jerky movements
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty eating
- Colic or fussiness
- Unusual eye movements
How to Prevent Kernicterus
Kernicterus is preventable when doctors provide the standard treatment throughout the prenatal period, during labor, and after the infant is born. Newborns must receive regular attention from doctors, nurses, and hospital staff. Failure to recognize signs of jaundice and provide timely treatment is inexcusable.
Fetal health must be monitored. Expectant mothers with O blood type or Rh-negative blood may have babies with higher bilirubin, and the doctor must take precautions to prevent kernicterus in these situations.
Risk factors for jaundice that should be taken into consideration by doctors include:
- Preterm babies
- Siblings who had jaundice
- Darker skin color which can make jaundice more difficult to detect
- The mother’s blood type
- Bruising at birth
Long-Term Effects of Untreated Kernicterus
Untreated kernicterus causes severe medical complications. The physical and intellectual harm that results from kernicterus will require a lifetime of special medical care.
Long-term effects for kernicterus may include:
- Brain damage
- Distorted facial features
- A misshapen or twisted spine
- Athetoid cerebral palsy
- Visual impairment
- Dental problems
- Hearing loss
- Intellectual impairment
- Poor motor development
How Your Malpractice Attorney Can Help
A child who suffers a serious birth injury such as kernicterus will have astronomical bills and expenses for the family. The experienced trial attorneys at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C., will investigate the circumstances of your child’s kernicterus and consult with medical experts.
When our investigation is complete, our attorneys will file a claim against anyone whose negligence contributed to your child’s injuries.
A medical malpractice claim for kernicterus includes the following types of damages:
- Medical bills
- Occupational therapy
- Visual and hearing assistance
- Medical devices
- Learning assistance
- Reduced quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Ongoing care
We’re on Your Side
If someone carelessly harmed your child, then they should have to pay for it. Our team at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. has won record-breaking settlements for our clients. We will always treat you and your family with respect and compassion.
Call (303) 759-9945 to learn more today.