Jaundice is relatively common in newborns and usually resolves on its own or with minor medical intervention. Unfortunately, some infants who develop jaundice after birth suffer dire health consequences that can affect their development.

When you suspect your baby experienced harm because of undiagnosed or untreated jaundice, you should speak with a Kingston newborn jaundice lawyer to learn about your legal options. A knowledgeable birth injury attorney could help you pursue economic damages from the medical team that provided substandard care to your newborn.

What is Jaundice?

Jaundice develops when a baby’s blood contains too much bilirubin, a protein produced when the body breaks down the hemoglobin in red blood cells. The liver usually processes and removes bilirubin from the bloodstream. However, during pregnancy, the mother’s liver performs that function. When an infant is born, it can take time for their liver to develop enough to function enough to remove excess bilirubin from their bloodstream fully. A baby develops jaundice when their liver cannot break down and remove the bilirubin.

How Jaundice Can Develop

Some babies are more at risk for developing severe jaundice, such as when they are premature, breastfed, or have an unmatching blood type to their mother. Babies also have a greater likelihood when they have certain underlying medical conditions such as immune or inherited disorders or conditions that affect their gallbladder, liver, or pancreas.

Jaundice can also develop from traumatic births that cause bleeding under a baby’s scalp. A doctor could cause a baby to suffer scalp bleeding through aggressive misuse of a delivery tool, such as a vacuum extractor or forceps. Some babies develop jaundice through infections.

A lawyer in Kingston could look at the medical history from the pregnancy through post-delivery to see if the baby’s doctors made mistakes that could have led to their jaundice.

How Doctors Can Treat Jaundice

When a doctor identifies jaundice promptly, they can take measures to remove the excess bilirubin from the baby’s bloodstream. Doctors often encourage parents whose babies have mild jaundice to feed them more frequently. Newborns with mild jaundice can receive light therapy through exposure to sunlight or by being placed in a warm incubator with special lights. Babies with more severe jaundice might need exchange transfusions from a donor.

A seasoned attorney could review a baby’s medical history to see if their doctors failed to perform a bilirubin test or missed telltale symptoms of jaundice.

Consequences of Untreated Jaundice in Newborns

Babies with jaundice often present with symptoms other than high bilirubin levels in their blood. They frequently have a yellow pallor to their skin and the whites of their eyes. Jaundiced babies are also poor eaters and suffer from extreme fatigue.

When hospital staff fails to recognize the symptoms or test a baby’s blood to check their bilirubin levels, the baby’s jaundice could worsen and lead to permanent harm. Elevated bilirubin levels can lead to kernicterus, which can damage a baby’s brain and nervous system. Some babies develop hearing impairments, while others develop irreversible brain damage.

By working closely with medical experts, a newborn jaundice lawyer in Kingston could determine whether the baby’s doctors made critical mistakes in their treatment.

Work With a Newborn Jaundice Attorney in Kingston

Jaundice is a common newborn condition that many people are familiar with. Doctors have access to advanced testing and treatments, and jaundice should not develop into a life-altering condition.

A Kingston newborn jaundice lawyer could fight to hold the healthcare practitioner who failed to diagnose or treat your baby’s jaundice. John Fisher believes in protecting patients’ rights and could help your family fight back. Call for an appointment today.