Whenever severe jaundice goes untreated in newborns, it can turn into kernicterus, which is a medical complication that can cause physical disability, brain damage, and even death. Early diagnosis and treatment for kernicterus is critical to avoiding permanent damage. If your Oakland, CA, medical provider failed to diagnose or treat your child for these serious conditions in a timely manner, contact Bennett Johnson, LLP today to discuss your medical malpractice claim with a kernicterus attorney. Our firm has decades of experience with medical malpractice cases and can fight aggressively for your family’s right to restitution.
What are Jaundice and Kernicterus?
Jaundice is a condition that affects a newborn’s liver and causes the skin and eyes to appear yellow. Nearly 80 percent of all newborns experience jaundice within the first few days of birth. While the condition usually resolves itself as a baby’s liver and kidneys begin to function properly, sometimes bilirubin (a byproduct of old red blood cells) builds, causing kernicterus, which can lead to serious, lasting consequences.
Symptoms of Kernicterus
Babies suffering from kernicterus may exhibit symptoms such as:
- Excessive sleeping or lethargy
- Difficult to wake and stay awake
- Abnormally high-pitched crying
- Fever or seizures
- No reaction to sudden movements
- Lack in muscle tone
- Arched back and hyper-extended neck
- Does not respond to physical touch
Kernicterus is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment. Without quick intervention, this condition can lead to permanent brain damage and possible fatalities for infants.
A Medical Professionals' Duty
Kernicterus is a highly preventable condition. Doctors and nurses are trained to monitor newborns with jaundice and react quickly when symptoms arise. With early detection and treatment, most newborns can lead healthy, happy lives as children and adults. Unfortunately, a doctor or nurse may neglect to take action when dangerous symptoms present themselves. This form of medical malpractice can result in serious and permanent damage.
Kernicterus can cause damage quickly. In many cases, once visible symptoms are present, irreversible brain damage has already occurred. When the condition is not fatal, newborns may grow up with conditions such as:
- Cerebral palsy
- Other forms of brain damage
- Vision or hearing impairment
- Lack of motor skills and coordination
- Learning disabilities
How Bennett Johnson, LLP Can Help
Unfortunately, children who survive kernicterus may face lifelong disabilities and can require advanced medical care. These medical expenses, over the child’s lifetime, can exceed millions of dollars. Most parents are in no position to afford those kind of expenses. If you find yourself in this situation, our attorneys can help. We can investigate your case to prove the medical provider was negligent in in failing to check for kernicterus, providing delayed treatment, failing to provide the appropriate treatment, or failing to monitor bilirubin levels.
While financial compensation cannot make up for the losses you have experienced, it can help ease financial burdens and provide a better future for your child and their health.
Once we have sufficient evidence to prove negligence, we can file a medical malpractice claim on your behalf. We can aggressively pursue maximum compensation for all the losses you and your child have suffered. Compensatory damages can cover your child’s current and estimated future medical expenses for long-term care and wages lost as a result of caring for your child. While financial compensation cannot make up for the losses you have experienced, it can help ease financial burdens and provide a better future for your child and their health.
Seek Financial Help
If your healthcare provider failed to promptly diagnose and treat kernicterus, contact our law firm online or call us at (510) 444-5020 to discuss your legal options. We can help you decide the best route to take to secure your future and protect your child's best interests.