South Florida Lawyers for Kernicterus Caused by Jaundice in Babies
Medical Malpractice Lawyers Fighting to Maximize Compensation for Clients Harmed When Jaundice Results in Kernicterus in Babies
Jaundice is an extremely common condition in babies and results when the baby’s liver is not developed sufficiently to remove bilirubin from the baby’s body. Although the most common symptom of jaundice is a yellowing of the baby’s skin and jaundice is very treatable, the baby may suffer from severe injuries and even brain damage when the doctor and medical staff members fail to conduct proper testing and thus fail to treat the baby. When jaundice is not properly treated, it can result in a disease called kernicterus, which causes brain damage in the baby and can have significant adverse consequences that can last a lifetime.
Kernicterus is an entirely preventable medical condition caused by a problem in babies that is so common even those with no medical training have likely heard of it and can recognize the basic symptoms. At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., we believe that when a doctor or medical professional fails to take note and conduct the appropriate testing and thereby causes a newborn baby to suffer lifelong consequences, that person should be held accountable for those consequences. We fight to make sure victims of negligent medical professionals receive the maximum compensation possible in these cases to hold those unacceptably careless individuals responsible to the fullest extent of the law.
Identifying Signs of Jaundice Leading to Kernicterus in Babies in South Florida Medical Facilities
As noted, jaundice is caused by excess bilirubin in the blood, and it is this excess bilirubin or hyperbilirubinemia, that can lead to kernicterus. When a medical professional notices that a baby is suffering from jaundice-like symptoms, a simple blood test will identify whether the baby has bilirubinemia, which is treated by placing the baby under special lamps. This remarkably simple treatment will usually prevent kernicterus from developing, and if it fails, blood transfusions can also prevent the elevated bilirubin from causing harm. Kernicterus itself can be extremely damaging to the baby, and can result in:
- Brain damage,
- Hearing loss and vision problems,
- Teeth problems,
- Intellectual disabilities,
- Athetoid cerebral palsy,
Because of these shockingly severe consequences, hospitals are required to test and re-test babies who have exhibited symptoms of jaundice. Potential signs that a newborn baby is suffering from jaundice (or elevated bilirubin) which is a red flag that the baby should be promptly tested and treated include:
- Yellow or orange tint to the skin, which will be more pronounced beginning in the head and upper body and recede toward the feet,
- The baby does not sleep at all, or is very difficult to wake up,
- The baby is extremely fussy, refuses to breastfeed or drink from a bottle, and does not seem to produce many dirty diapers,
- The baby has extreme arching of the body, with the head, neck and feet arching downward and the body itself arching upward,
- You notice strange eye movements in the baby,
- Changes in muscle tone, meaning that the baby’s body is either very stiff, or limp and floppy.
Although hyperbilirubinemia is more common in children with Asian parents, babies born prematurely and male children, it can occur in any newborn baby.
Gonzalez & Cartwright Fight to Hold Negligent Hospitals and Doctors Responsible for Harmful Results of Kernicterus Caused by Jaundice in Babies
Once kernicterus has advanced in your baby to a certain extent, it may be impossible to reverse the damage that it has caused. Some children require lifelong around-the-clock care for the damage caused by kernicterus that could have been prevented entirely with proper testing and treatment. At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., our skilled medical malpractice lawyers will fight to establish that the doctor’s failure to conduct the necessary testing and treatment amounted to medical negligence that caused your harm, and will fight to obtain compensation for:
- All of your baby’s medical expenses,
- The cost of ongoing care in the home or a medical facility,
- Rehabilitative care and medical devices,
- Special schooling,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Lost earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering.
Contact an Aggressive and Trustworthy Medical Malpractice Attorney to Discuss Your South Florida Kernicterus-Related Case Today
Many new parents mistakenly believe that jaundice is not harmful because it is so common. Your doctor should know better, and it is the responsibility of trained medical professionals to conduct the testing necessary to determine whether your baby’s jaundice could lead to kernicterus. If your baby has suffered because of a doctor’s failure to properly test and treat for jaundice and elevated bilirubin levels, call us today, or fill out this secure online contact form, so that we can begin fighting for your right to compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kernicterus Caused by Jaundice in Babies in South Florida
FAQ: My child has athetoid cerebral palsy, but I don’t know how it was caused. How can a lawyer help me establish that it resulted from medical malpractice because a doctor failed to test and treat elevated bilirubin levels?
Our birth injury lawyers have the resources necessary to retain skilled medical experts and specialists who will evaluate your child’s medical history and records to trace the root cause of your child’s condition. We will look to whether your child exhibited signs of jaundice, whether the doctor ordered tests to identify whether jaundice or excess bilirubin was present in your child and the treatment ordered by the doctor.
FAQ: I didn’t know that my baby’s condition was caused by kernicterus that resulted from untreated jaundice. How long do I have to pursue a claim for compensation?
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Florida is two years from the date that you knew of the malpractice, with a four-year statute of repose that generally prevents claims after four years. However, a different time limit applies for malpractice that impacts children under the age of eight years old because of the fact that the child may not show full symptoms until much later than is the case with an adult. Therefore, if the malpractice occurred when your child was a baby, you have two years from the date you discovered the malpractice even if the four-year statute of repose has expired.