Jaundice is a discoloration of the skin. It is typically orange and caused by excessive levels of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a toxin in the blood that is normally processed by the liver. When the baby’s liver is immature and unable to process bilirubin, it could result in the yellowish discoloration of the skin. It typically begins on the face, and if allowed to spread, it could spread down the neck, chest, and trunk of the body.

If doctors send the baby home with a bilirubin level that is at high risk, the bilirubin could go into the baby’s brain. The bilirubin is deposited at the base of their brain, called the basal ganglia, which causes a form of preventable brain damage called kernicterus.

If this scenario happened to your family, you may be able to pursue a birth injury lawsuit with the help of a knowledgeable birth injury attorney. Reach out to a Hudson Valley jaundice lawyer for assistance.

Preventing Jaundice

Some ways jaundice could be prevented is by timely recognition and treatment. When there is jaundice, the child could be treated by monitoring their bilirubin levels and taking more frequent bilirubin blood tests to determine whether the bilirubin level is going up, staying the same, or coming down. The other thing that could be done is to place the baby under phototherapy lights continuously. Those phototherapy lights would eliminate jaundice and the bilirubin from the blood.

Grounds for a Birth Injury Malpractice Case

Certain behavior or inaction by a medical professional is grounds for a Hudson Valley jaundice malpractice case. The child’s bilirubin levels should be plotted on a bilirubin nomogram. The bilirubin nomogram is a graph that charts the blood level for bilirubin, according to the number of hours of the life of the infant.

For example, if the blood test is taken at 33 hours of life for the baby and that bilirubin is 12, that would place the child at high risk for hyperbilirubinemia, meaning there is a high risk that this child’s bilirubin would rise to the level where it is going to require treatment. In that situation, the baby should not be discharged but should be treated. The treatment would consist of checking their bilirubin level again, and in many cases, placing the child under phototherapy lights to help eliminate the bilirubin from their blood system.

Failure to follow proper treatment procedures or correctly monitor the infant could be considered negligence. If this is the case, a Hudson Valley jaundice lawyer could help prove this in a medical malpractice case.

Importance Evidence in a Jaundice Case

MRI scans are important evidence in a Hudson Valley jaundice malpractice case. If the MRI shows that there are areas of brain damage, which would typically be in both the right and the left hemisphere of the brain at the basal ganglia or the globus pallidus, it is evidence that the bilirubin was deposited at the base of their brain, causing a toxic form of injury called kernicterus. This means that the MRI or CAT scan is critical evidence for showing the brain damage.

Contact an Experienced Hudson Valley Jaundice Attorney

If you feel your child was not properly treated, you should contact a Hudson Valley jaundice lawyer. An attorney who has experience dealing with hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus knows what criteria to evaluate. They could help you understand what happened in your case and fight to protect your interests in a medical malpractice lawsuit.