Elevated bilirubin, also known as newborn jaundice, is a potentially dangerous condition that requires prompt treatment following a baby’s birth. During pregnancy, the mother’s doctor should monitor the fetus for risk factors that may lead to elevated bilirubin. If one or more risk factors are identified, they should be addressed in order to mitigate the risk of serious and potentially long-term complications.
Sadly, this does not always happen. Often, the risks of elevated levels of bilirubin are downplayed (minor jaundice does not necessarily carry risks and may go away on its own), and in some cases, the fetus’s condition will be overlooked. Both of these mistakes can increase the chances of the baby being born with severe jaundice and potentially developing kernicterus or certain other life-altering conditions. If you believe that your newborn’s jaundice was not properly addressed by a doctor, reach out to a birth injury lawyer today. A Connecticut elevated bilirubin lawyer could assess your eligibility for compensation and work with you to pursue legal action.
As an expectant or new parent, understanding the risk factors, symptoms, and potential complications associated with elevated bilirubin is important. If your child is born with severe jaundice, he or she will need medical treatment promptly, and your family may be entitled to financial compensation for malpractice. Here’s what you need to know:
Due to the risks and relative prevalence of elevated bilirubin, doctors should monitor for risk factors and symptoms throughout the mother’s pregnancy and immediately following childbirth. If one or more risk factors are present during pregnancy, or if a newborn presents with symptoms of elevated bilirubin after birth, appropriate medical care should be provided to ensure that the consequences for the child are no greater than necessary.
Common risk factors for elevated bilirubin that should be considered during pregnancy include:
Symptoms of elevated bilirubin that may signal the need for prompt medical treatment include:
While the symptoms of mild newborn jaundice will often go away on their own over time, if left untreated, elevated bilirubin can potentially turn into bilirubin encephalopathy, also known as kernicterus. Bilirubin encephalopathy can be a life-threatening medical condition, and emergency medical treatment may be necessary. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that doctors examine newborns for jaundice, at least every eight to twelve hours and between the third and seventh day following birth.
If kernicterus is not promptly diagnosed, and if treatment is not administered promptly, the newborn’s condition can worsen dramatically. Tragically, in some cases, kernicterus can be fatal. Signs that a newborn’s condition is worsening include heightened irritability and crying, seizures, muscle rigidity (particularly in the back, which may be arched), and refusal to nurse or feed. Parents of newborn children who have exhibited any symptoms of jaundice or kernicterus should seek medical attention promptly, and their doctors should immediately determine what treatment is necessary.
In many cases, kernicterus and other complications from elevated bilirubin are the results of malpractice. This includes malpractice during pregnancy (i.e., failure to diagnose risk factors) and malpractice after childbirth (i.e., failure to provide appropriate treatment). While there are no excuses for these kinds of errors, they are made with alarming frequency, and many families are forced to cope with the life-long consequences of their doctors’ mistakes.
If your child’s elevated bilirubin went undiagnosed, or if your child has been diagnosed with kernicterus despite being seen by a doctor after birth, you may have a claim for malpractice. From the exorbitant costs of ongoing medical treatment to the tragic loss of a newborn child, malpractice can have devastating consequences, and families that are suffering deserve to be fully compensated for their losses.
When a child’s elevated bilirubin is the result of medical malpractice, the child’s parents are entitled to recover just compensation. This includes compensation for both the financial (i.e. medical bills) and non-financial (i.e. pain and suffering) costs of the doctor’s mistake. Recovering just compensation typically involves filing a claim with the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance company, and the majority of medical malpractice insurance claims settle out of court.
To find out if you have a medical malpractice claim as a result of your child’s elevated bilirubin, kernicterus or any other related complications, you will need to consult with a lawyer. At Berkowitz Hanna, we have decades of experience helping families recover just compensation for elevated bilirubin and other birth injuries. Our lawyers work with trusted medical experts to prove our clients’ claims, and we work closely with our clients to ensure that we are seeking the maximum compensation available. When you contact us, we will arrange for you to speak with one of our experienced elevated bilirubin lawyers in confidence as soon as possible, and your lawyer will give you the information you need to make an informed decision about asserting your family’s legal rights.
Undiagnosed jaundice in newborns can lead to serious complications. If you believe your child suffered due to a doctor’s error, do not wait to take action. For more information about Connecticut families’ legal rights in cases involving birth injuries resulting from malpractice, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Berkowitz Hanna. A Connecticut elevated bilirubin lawyer could help you seek the compensation that you deserve for your infant’s injuries.