Kernicterus is a dangerous health issue that can occur in newborns. Although the birth of your child should be one of the most exciting and joyous times of your life, if kernicterus goes untreated, it can cause debilitating and long-lasting health issues or even death.
In some instances, if your healthcare provider’s negligence or medical mistakes are the cause of your baby’s condition, you may have the right to take legal action against them through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Here are some important facts about what kernicterus is and how it can be caused by medical malpractice.
What is Kernicterus?
Kernicterus is a serious health issue that affects newborn babies. It is a type of brain damage that can lead to devastating, lifelong health issues that are in some cases fatal. If you have any concerns that your baby is unhealthy, then you have a right to know whether they could have kernicterus. Here are some important facts about why kernicterus is caused by medical malpractice:
Kernicterus has an Identifiable Cause
Many babies are born with a condition called jaundice which is the direct cause of kernicterus. Jaundice is a result of an excess of bilirubin, a naturally-occurring chemical that clears waste from the blood.
Too much bilirubin causes a yellowing of the skin and eyes. It is common in newborns and should be harmless if it is properly monitored and treated. However, jaundice can develop into kernicterus when bilirubin levels get too high.
Kernicterus is Easy to Monitor
What makes kernicterus unique from most other health conditions is that the clear source of the problem, and excess of bilirubin, make it easy to diagnose and monitor. If your baby had jaundice, then your doctor should have informed you of the risks of them developing kernicterus and taken action to prevent it.
Your doctor can perform a simple and harmless blood test to measure the levels of bilirubin in your baby’s blood. There are many warning signs and symptoms of kernicterus, like fever and muscle spasms that, if left untreated, can lead to seizures, poor motor development, and even head contortions.
Kernicterus is Highly Preventable
With a timely blood test, a doctor can determine if your baby has unhealthy levels of bilirubin from their jaundice. If those levels are unhealthy, then they can move on to treatment.
Increasing a newborn’s fluid intake is often the only thing needed to help them flush out excess bilirubin. A doctor may also use blue-light phototherapy to counteract the yellow of bilirubin and aid in breaking it down.
Bilirubin is a necessary and useful chemical in the body, but most newborns have not developed the natural ability to regulate it. Your doctor should be able to recognize when there may be a problem and use treatment to guide your baby’s body to eventually control its bilirubin levels.
How to Proceed With a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
When you have reason to believe your healthcare provider’s medical mistake, or negligence is the cause of your newborn’s brain damage caused by kernicterus, it is important to contact a medical malpractice attorney to discuss the specific details of your case further. Your lawyer will carefully review the circumstances of your baby’s condition to determine whether your healthcare providers failed to uphold their duty of care.
For a medical malpractice claim to be successful, your attorney must be able to show that your healthcare provider failed to maintain the medical duty of care. This means they made a decision or failed to make medical decisions that other similarly trained healthcare providers would not have made.
Once you have a medical malpractice lawyer working on your case, you can spend more time helping your baby heal from their injuries and start to move forward with your life while your legal advocate begins preparing a powerful claim against the at-fault party. We will need to obtain copies of your medical records, gather witness statements, and thoroughly investigate the cause of your baby’s kernicterus diagnosis.
That way, we can prove based on a preponderance of the evidence that your healthcare provider is ultimately responsible for the trauma your newborn went through. Most healthcare providers are protected by malpractice insurance, so we may begin by filing a claim with the insurance company. However, if the insurance company refuses to compensate your family fairly for your damages, you can rest easier knowing we will work tirelessly and proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit if necessary.
Common Types of Recoverable Damages in Kernicterus Medical Malpractice Claims
When you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you are entitled to total financial recovery. There is no amount of money that will change what happens to you and your baby. However, by accessing the compensation you deserve, you can recover your medical expenses and make sure your baby has access to the financial support they may need to deal with the lifelong ramifications of their medical condition.
With that in mind, some potentially recoverable damages that may be available include:
- Ongoing physical therapy
- Prescription medication costs
- Surgical fees
- Occupational therapy
- Mental health counseling costs
- Medical devices and home accommodations
- Your child’s future and ongoing medical care
- Loss of income
- Your child’s diminished earning capacity
- Your personal loss of future potential earnings due to your role as a caregiver
- Emotional distress
- Your child’s reduced quality of life
- Physical pain and suffering
Has Your Child Suffered From A Birth Injury? Contact The Snyder Law Group Today
The Snyder Law Group, LLC, proudly represents clients throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Our experienced Baltimore attorneys understand the frustration that comes with an insurance company, medical professional, or other party that refuses to accept liability for negligent or reckless behavior.
You can take heart in knowing there are talented and experienced lawyers ready to work for you. We are experienced in handling personal injury claims of medical malpractice or injury resulting from serious car and truck accidents and have secured hundreds of millions in verdicts settlements.