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Elevated Bilirubin

Elevated Bilirubin & Malpractice Lawsuits

Jaundice Complications, Kernicterus & Birth Injuries

Jaundice is a fairly common and usually harmless occurrence in newborn babies.

When babies are born, it is common that their livers have not developed fully. The baby’s liver produces bile, which contains bilirubin, to help break down old red blood cells that the baby is born with. As the infant matures, the liver develops fully and the child’s bilirubin levels stabilize. If not treated properly or taken seriously enough, though, jaundice can result in a serious birth injury known as kernicterus or hyperbilirubinemia.

Did your child suffer kernicterus or other injuries due to a medical provider’s negligence? Contact Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for a FREE case review: (213) 519-5636.

What is Kernicterus?

Kernicterus is a brain injury that occurs when a child’s blood level of bilirubin is too high. When high levels of bilirubin are ignored in the child’s blood, the bilirubin can enter the infant’s brain tissue and cause permanent damage.

Over half of the infants born in the United States are jaundiced. Jaundice is easy to identify because it turns the infant’s skin yellow. If jaundice is not treated promptly and effectively, the child can suffer brain damage.

Babies who suffer brain damage because of elevated bilirubin exhibit several symptoms. First, the baby will become lethargic. A lethargic baby is hard to wake up, or won’t stay conscious very long once it is awake. When the baby’s bilirubin level is dangerously high, it will lapse in a hypotonic state, followed by a hypertonic state. When a baby becomes hypotonic, it loses muscle tone and feels limp or weak when picked up; a hypertonic baby’s muscle tone increases and the child will become tense or rigid.

Babies with dangerously high bilirubin levels will not respond to touch and may experience seizures. In cases of serious neglect or misdiagnosis, kernicterus can lead to seizures, cerebral palsy, brain damage, and hearing loss.

Discuss Your Legal Options During a FREE Consultation

Because slightly elevated bilirubin is common, doctors may ignore symptoms of hyperbilirubinemia, resulting in the child being seriously injured or may otherwise fail to treat newborns in accordance to the standard of case.

If your child’s injuries may have been caused by substandard care, our team at Boswick & Peterson is available to help you learn more about your legal options. We offer FREE consultations and serve clients across Los Angeles and beyond.

Did a doctor fail to diagnose elevated bilirubin in your baby? Contact us for a FREE case review.

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