Kernicterus Lawsuit Echoes Birth Injury Concerns

by | May 16, 2024 | Medical Malpractice, Birth Injuries, Failure to Diagnose, Negligence | 0 comments

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Parents feel joy when they cradle their newborns, filled with dreams and hope for the future. Imagine if the dreams collapsed due to a medical condition that could have been prevented!

Newborn jaundice is a common condition, affecting approximately 60% of babies within a few days after birth. It’s often mild and harmless, but it needs medical attention.

Nowadays, the issue of untreated jaundice, which is called kernicterus, has gained much attention among parents. Some parents filed kernicterus lawsuits against medical professionals.

Let’s delve into the details of a kernicterus lawsuit, which involves allegations of medical negligence or failure to provide adequate treatment for severe jaundice, and explore how to file a lawsuit.

Before we explore the topic, let’s understand the basics of kernicterus.

What is Kernicterus?

Kernicterus is a serious complication that can happen when a newborn baby has severe jaundice. Jaundice is normal, but if it’s not treated properly, it can cause problems.

Jaundice is when a baby’s skin and eyes turn yellow because of too much bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellowish substance that forms when our bodies break down old red blood cells.

Bilirubin is processed by the liver and eliminated from the body. When the baby is in the mother’s belly, the mother’s placenta helps to remove the bilirubin. But after birth, the child’s liver can’t handle the process. This is due to the newborn liver not being fully developed. So it is difficult for them to remove the bilirubin on their own.

When this bilirubin level gets very high, it can damage the brain, causing problems like hearing loss, problems with movement, intellectual disabilities, and even death. It’s really important to monitor jaundice in newborns to prevent kernicterus.

Symptoms of Kernicterus

  • Lethargy
  • Poor feeding
  • High pitched crying
  • Sleepiness
  • Jaundice

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.

How to Diagnose the Kernicterus?

Doctors should monitor newborn jaundice after some days after a baby is born and the day before the mother’s discharge.

If a baby is showing signs of jaundice, doctors want to check their bilirubin levels. They can do this with a simple blood test or sometimes even just by looking at the baby’s skin.

To check the severity of jaundice, doctors use a device called a light meter. It’s like a small flashlight, but it measures the level of jaundice by shining it on the baby’s skin. The light meter reads how much bilirubin is in the skin and gives a number that tells doctors if it’s normal or if it’s getting too high.

The next step is a blood test, which is more accurate. The doctor takes a small amount of blood from a baby and calculates the amount of bilirubin.

Based on the results, doctors can tell if the baby’s bilirubin levels are too high and if they need treatment.

Diagnosing jaundice early can prevent serious conditions in newborns. Failing to diagnose is a main cause of kernicterus lawsuits.

How to Treat Kernicterus?

Kernicterus treatment typically involves:


To break down the bilirubin, doctors use light therapy. The special ultraviolet light does not hurt your newborn. The baby is placed under a special light, and the doctors closely monitor the bilirubin levels. This method is considered to be safe.

Exchange transfusion

In severe cases, where phototherapy is not enough, doctors may perform an exchange blood transfusion. This involves replacing the baby’s blood with donor blood to lower bilirubin levels quickly. It has an increased level of bilirubin.

Supportive care

Medications may be given to help lower bilirubin levels or to treat any underlying causes of kernicterus. Affected babies may need supportive care such as fluids, nutrition, and monitoring for kernicterus complications.

People file lawsuits if the doctors do not treat the kernicterus promptly.

How does Negligence Play a Role in a Kernicterus Lawsuit?

Negligence has had devastating effects on babies diagnosed with kernicterus. In medical negligence cases, doctors may fail to monitor bilirubin levels adequately, which results in delayed treatments. As a result, the bilirubin level increases to dangerous levels, leading to permanent brain damage. For these babies, the impacts of negligence are profound and lifelong.

Negligence plays an important role in a kernicterus lawsuit. When doctors are negligent in monitoring a newborn’s bilirubin levels, they may be held accountable.

If doctors don’t promptly treat jaundice with phototherapy or exchange transfusions when needed, it can lead to kernicterus. Delayed treatment can result from misdiagnosis or inadequate medical attention.

After birth, it is essential to monitor the baby’s bilirubin levels and provide appropriate follow-up care. Negligence can occur if medical professionals fail to schedule necessary follow-up appointments or provide proper instructions to parents.

Mostly, doctors monitor and treat jaundice in newborns. But some medical professionals fails to do so. Due to this issue, parents file kernicterus lawsuits and seek compensation for medical expenses, lifelong care costs, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

How to File Medical Malpractice Claim?

Cases of kernicterus still occur due to failures in diagnosis and treatment. Parents who have been affected by kernicterus may seek compensation for their child. You may be able to file a lawsuit if your child is affected by the negligence of the doctors.

You have all the rights to sue a negligent medical professional for your damages. Filing a medical malpractice case can help you secure compensation for your losses.

To file a kernicterus lawsuit, contact an experienced attorney specializing in medical malpractice cases. For a medical malpractice claim, you have to prove that a medical professional’s negligence was the cause of the issue.

Your attorney will conduct an investigation to gather evidence supporting your claim. This involves obtaining medical records, expert opinions, eyewitness testimony, and other evidence. Witnesses like medical professionals and family members play an important role in proving the link between negligence and kernicterus.

Your attorney will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your young ones in seeking justice.

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