After childbirth, medical workers must continue to carefully monitor and treat babies after birth for conditions such as jaundice. When doctors fail to diagnose and promptly treat jaundice, a relatively minor complication can become a lifetime of health problems.
If your baby suffered harm because their doctor failed to treat their jaundice, you should consult with a New Haven infant jaundice malpractice lawyer for legal advice about your next steps. The birth injury attorneys at Berkowitz Hanna are committed to fighting on behalf of families and their infants and can help you get the compensation you need and deserve.
Most people’s livers break down the bilirubin in their bodies and remove it through their stool. However, a newborn baby’s liver may not be capable of removing the bilirubin from the bloodstream. Many babies develop jaundice shortly after birth because it takes their livers a few extra days after delivery to develop and be able to remove excess bilirubin. If left untreated, jaundice could lead to kernicterus, which causes severe and permanent brain damage.
While any newborn can develop jaundice, some babies are more predisposed to the condition than others. Premature babies, particularly those born before 35 weeks gestation, are at an elevated risk of developing jaundice. Breastfed babies are also more likely than bottle-fed babies to develop jaundice, as are infants with underlying medical conditions or problems with their liver, pancreas, or gallbladder. Babies with immune disorders, infections, genetic disorders, and a different blood type than their mothers are also at an increased risk of developing severe jaundice. Difficult deliveries that cause bleeding under a baby’s scalp can also lead to jaundice. When a newborn’s jaundice is not properly diagnosed or treated, serious complications can occur. A New Haven infant jaundice attorney can help a family determine if a provider’s conduct constitutes malpractice and take legal action accordingly.
Because jaundice is a relatively common complication in newborns, most hospitals and medical staff screen all babies for the condition before discharging them. In addition, as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, many pediatricians perform jaundice screenings as part of newborn wellness visits.
Babies who have jaundice may experience the following symptoms or exhibit the following signs:
If a doctor observes any of these symptoms, they can perform a bilirubin level test on a baby. Because many cases of newborn jaundice resolve on their own, doctors should also continue to monitor the baby to ensure they are recovering. Sometimes, they might ask parents to speed up weight gain by increasing feedings or prescribing minor phototherapy for the baby. Infants with more severe cases might need an exchange transfusion or other treatment.
In cases where these signs are not recognized or appropriately treated, an infant with jaundice is vulnerable to hearing problems, cerebral palsy, and other cognitive impairments that could permanently affect their quality of life. A skilled New Haven attorney could meet with medical experts to review a doctor’s actions and determine if malpractice occurred in the treatment of an infant with jaundice.
Medical professionals have a duty to monitor infants’ well-being after they are born. When doctors fail to notice and treat signs of jaundice, they risk causing severe harm to infants. Knowing your child may suffer long-term consequences because of medical negligence may be devastating, but compensation could help your family move forward with financial stability.
Speak to a New Haven infant jaundice malpractice lawyer to learn how we can help you. The team at Berkowitz Hanna is prepared to stand by you and your child every step of the way to fight for the compensation you deserve.