Neurological birth injuries can endanger your child’s physical, mental, and emotional future. After an injury, your child may face ongoing medical treatment and a lifetime of physical and mental health therapy. They may need extra help in school and may even require a caretaker to help them live on their own. Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers is here to help.
These injuries can happen in many ways. If your child suffers from hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus in Fort Lauderdale, FL, a lawyer can gather evidence and expert opinions about the cause. They can then help you pursue a claim against anyone responsible.
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How Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers Can Help With a Hyperbilirubinemia & Kernicterus Case in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers was founded in 1996 to represent injured clients in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, against at-fault parties and their insurers. Our Fort Lauderdale birth injury attorney has over 28 years of experience fighting for fair outcomes for the firm’s clients.
If your child suffers a birth injury due to medical negligence, our lawyer can provide the following:
- A free consultation to review your case and analyze your legal options
- Aggressive negotiations with malpractice insurers to settle your case
- Extensive litigation experience if the malpractice insurers refuse to settle your case for a fair amount
If your baby suffers a birth injury, they may need significant resources to meet their needs. Contact our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your child’s injuries and your options for pursuing a claim against the doctor responsible.
Is Jaundice Common?
Jaundice, the common name for hyperbilirubinemia, is one of the most common conditions suffered by newborns. Up to 60% of newborns suffer from this condition.
Hyperbilirubinemia happens when a baby has too much bilirubin in their blood. This chemical is produced when red blood cells break down. Normally, the liver filters this chemical from the blood. However, the liver is not fully developed in newborns. As a result, it might not be able to completely filter bilirubin from the blood.
This condition usually clears up within a few weeks with no side effects or complications. Once the liver and its ducts fully develop, it can keep up with the body’s bilirubin production. The jaundice dissipates.
Yellow skin and eyes are common signs of jaundice.
Other symptoms include:
- Sleep disorders
- Difficulty feeding
- Lack of energy
- Muscle twitches and spasms
Infants typically do not need any treatment for jaundice. Occasionally, doctors will recommend exposing the child to the sun to help their body break down the bilirubin.
Defining Hyperbilirubinemia & Kernicterus
Bilirubin is neurotoxic. If it remains in the blood for too long or at high concentrations, it can cause neurological problems. Kernicterus is a brain condition that results from hyperbilirubinemia. Doctors also refer to the condition as bilirubin encephalopathy.
In this condition, bilirubin damages brain cells, leading to physical, cognitive, and emotional issues.
In addition to the symptoms that characterize jaundice, your baby might exhibit neurological symptoms in three increasingly severe stages:
- Early Stage: Characterized by fatigue, depressed startle reflex, and poor feeding
- Middle Stage: Irritability, intense crying, and high muscle tone
- Late Stage: No feeding, rigid muscle tone, and seizures
Once your child reaches late-stage kernicterus, they risk permanent hearing loss, brain damage, cognitive disabilities, coma, and death.
Causes of Kernicterus
Although jaundice or hyperbilirubinemia is a very common birth condition, kernicterus is very rare because only severe and long-standing jaundice can lead to kernicterus. In most cases, jaundice will clear up long before the child suffers nerve and brain injuries.
If it does not clear up on its own, a doctor should diagnose it and prescribe treatment. This treatment may include exposure to sunlight or blood transfusions.
How Does Kernicterus Relate To Medical Malpractice?
Healthcare providers must meet the professional standard of care when treating their patients. When they do something objectively unreasonable in Florida, the injured patient can seek compensation for their injuries.
A doctor or hospital could bear medical malpractice liability for hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus under at least three theories.
First, they may be liable if they cause the condition. A physical injury during birth can produce these conditions, such as a cephalohematoma under the baby’s scalp caused by using forceps during delivery.
Second, they may be liable if they fail to diagnose the condition. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis might prevent the baby from receiving the treatment they need. As a result, their case might worsen more than it should have.
Third, they might fail to prescribe effective treatment after correctly diagnosing the baby’s condition. For example, this could happen when the doctor fails to recognize a severe case that requires a blood transfusion rather than mere exposure to sunlight.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With Our Fort Lauderdale Hyperbilirubinemia & Kernicterus Attorney
Birth injuries can put you and your child in a precarious financial position. Contact Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to learn about the compensation you may be able to recover on behalf of your child due to medical malpractice.