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, makes 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 actions 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.
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